Have you ever asked God for something – strength, patience, wisdom, or even just “help” in general— only to then continue thinking about whatever was bothering you in the first place, while dismissing how you had already inquired of God’s assistance?
Maybe you thought you were just venting your frustration to God in the moment and weren’t actually expecting what you had asked for. You may have rationalized that you wouldn’t even know what God giving you something as abstract as “strength” actually looks like on a practical level.
I recently was reminded of what happens when you ask for these sort of things.
As I was driving to school earlier this week, I hastily turned down my music for a moment and specifically asked the Lord for peace. It was 9am and already I was on edge.
I had awoken to the realization that my phone charger decided to permanently cease functioning at some point during the night, then noticed all the lights in my room were still on because I had apparently fallen asleep whilst writing a paper I needed to finish.
Just as the self-pity train was kicking into high gear, I acquired more fuel for complaints on my way out the door when I accidentally knocked my watch off the counter, the watch my dad specially picked out on a shopping excursion we went on together. Amazingly, that one drop was enough to render it useless.
I had asked for peace because it was the first word off the top of my head to surmise exactly how I didn’t feel that morning. Honestly, I wanted God to see me and not just understand how I felt, but to feel sorry for me too, as petty as that sounds.
Of course, he handled things in a much different manner.
As I was making the nearly ten minute walk from the parking garage to my first class, I must not have been paying much attention, because suddenly I was snapped out of a reverie I didn’t realize I was in by a stranger passing by. A tall guy around my age with bushy blonde hair looked at me, then broke into the most natural, yet intentional smile and warmly chirped “good morning” as we passed.
That random encounter was all but two seconds long and involved only two words, yet it hit me like a ton of bricks. This perfect stranger startled me with his unexpected kindness through the simplest of gestures. He radiated pure warmth, and with that the sense of peace I had so desired.
I knew right then and there that I had just witnessed and experienced God answering my terse prayer. It sounds a little too perfect, but the mishaps of that morning were brought into perspective and I genuinely stopped worrying about them. Instead of being overwhelmed by mildly unfortunate circumstances, I became overwhelmed with waves of awe and gratitude at how God not only understood me, but also granted peace in a way I’d understand.
Most of the time, the answers to our broad pleas come in small packages – the Lord speaks in whispers. God reveals himself to Elijah of the Old Testament not through a windstorm, an earthquake, or a fire, but through a gentle breeze.
The cheerful blonde student has no idea how much he helped me that day, but that’s the beauty of how God uses people, as well as events, conversations, and our own thoughts when we truly take the time to commune with Him.
All in all, the Lord is listening to our pleas and prayers, and He expects us to listen and be attentive to His replies.
How amazing is that?!