I got an email from one of my cousins. You know the kind to which I'm referring, the ones that make their way around containing a moving story of someone in dire circumstances who is miraculously helped by unseen forces. Yes, these usually move me to tears, but after reading so many of them over the years, the originality has sort of worn off, and I find myself thinking, blah, blah, blah, I've heard it all before. But this one, along with the moving story of an impoverished lady and her children at Christmas, contained a tidbit about prayers and how they are answered, and that morsel, if you will, changed my way of thinking and released me.
We've all heard that when we pray, sometimes the answer is "no." But that is not the case. According to the wise originator of the email I received, the answer is always one of three things:
2) Not yet.
3) I have something better in mind.
Someone close to me recently told me she was unhappy in the new job she took, but she felt that in these tough economic times, she had no business either feeling unhappy or quitting any job. So she prayed. She asked God for a sign. The next day, she went in to work and was told the company suffered some setbacks and she was being laid off at the end of the week. She was thrilled. Asked and answered. I, on the other hand, have been in limbo for months, afraid that asking for what I really want would just not yield that kind of immediate and happy result.
But what if those three answers above are true? What if the only answers are yes, not yet, or I have something better in mind? What if God, or the Universe, or whatever you want to call that entity is itching to bless me with either what I want or things better than I could even imagine? Wouldn't that be great?!!
So I'm going to conduct a little experiment. Instead of praying I don't get struck by an oncoming truck or washed away in a tsunami or any other catastrophe I can think of, I'm going to ask for a life that's better than I have the capacity to imagine right now. This may take a little practice, because, after all, I've had a lifetime of believing that pending doom is just around the corner. But I'm willing to make a go of it. I'm willing to try thinking about things another way. At the least, I'll feel better believing in a God that only wants to give me good things. This would be in direct contradiction to the God that is smiting everyone in the Old Testament and making his chosen people wander around in a desert for 40 years. No wonder I'm always waiting for doom. That's what He did to the people he liked.
Anyway, I wish you all the answer to your own prayers. I'll let you know how mine turn out. May all of us know the joy of saying, "This is so much better than I imagined!"
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