If you know me, you know that I hate bugs. I really dislike the time of year when the flying critters are at your doorstep. You know, the ones attracted to the porch light. It freaks me out just to unlock my door when I get home. I am sure people walking by would probably wonder what the crazy girl, waving her keys around in the air, is doing, but I’m just trying to scare away those pesky insects. Lately, however, I haven’t noticed as many. Today, when I left my apartment, I saw a spider web in the far top corner of my doorway and inside that spider web are several of those little flying bugs that I disdain so much. Now don’t get me wrong, I hate spiders too, but it made me stop and think for a second. Am I OK with the spider if it takes away these other bugs? I mean, it’s doing its natural job and getting rid of other insects. Then I wondered if perhaps sometimes prayer is like that. What if the answer to our prayer is not what we want, but it’s still an answer to our prayer? Do I want a spider living outside my doorstep? Eh, not particularly. But I don’t have to deal with things flying at my face when I’m trying to unlock my door.
Hear me out a minute. We’ve heard the saying many times that the Lord works in mysterious ways, and I believe I’m seeing that much more this year than I ever have before in my life. I’m learning that my prayers do not go unanswered. Sometimes they’re just answered in a way that I either would not look for, or possibly even appreciate. The Bible also says His ways are not my ways. Check out Isaiah 55:8-9: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” So sometimes when I’m looking for the answer to the prayer I prayed, perhaps I need to ask God what that answer is, and not assume that the answer to my problems is that they will just disappear. Now I didn’t say a prayer for those bugs to leave my doorstep, but if I had I’m sure I would have simply wanted them to vanish, having a spider show up and capture them all would not have crossed my mind.
Earlier this year I prayed very fervently for a medical procedure I was having. There was the possibility that I would have to have two procedures done, but I only wanted one of course. That would save on cost, time off work, and overall well being. Now, when I say I prayed fervently, I mean it. I even got the elders of the church to lay hands on me and everything. But guess what, it didn’t happen. I was extremely disappointed. I was confused as to why God would answer my prayer with a ‘no’. Then I read Proverbs 14:12, which is repeated in Proverbs 16:25. It says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” When I read that scripture, I thought about how the one procedure was risky, and if not done right could have led to many complications. I now have faith that God was looking out for me when He answered my prayer with a ‘no’. However, during that time I also met my Out of Pocket Maximum and didn’t have to pay very much for my second procedure. He was looking out for me!
How many times has God answered my prayer, but I was too selfish or too caught up in myself to even realize what His answer was? How many times is God sitting on His throne just saying, “Hey Kiely, look over here” or “look over there?” Sometimes when we have a desire, a need, or a request of the Lord we don’t even stop and ask Him if this is this His will for us. Sometimes I feel like Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and I’m kicking and screaming in prayer, essentially saying, “this is what I want, and I want it now!” Then when it doesn’t happen, I get upset that the Lord didn’t answer my prayer, when I didn’t even ask Him if that’s what He wanted for me in the first place.
Sometimes we need to take a step back from ourselves and ask the Lord what His purpose and His plan is in whatever it is that we’re going through. We often get so caught up in the hand of God that we forget about the heart of God. Do we want His blessings over His presence? I know I’ve been there. That’s something that we all must answer for ourselves.
I’ve decided something for myself recently. The blessing of His salvation was the greatest gift I could ever receive. If I never receive another blessing in my life, I would take the presence of our God every single time. Because without that there is no life. Without that I am not fulfilled. Thankfully, our God is a good God and I know He’ll bless me anyway.