Last year, I asked God for a lot of things; actually, I’ve been asking Him for some things for a couple of years now. And every time a Pastor asked us to write a list or every time I felt inspired to, I would dutifully write my list, pray over it, sow over it, hand it in…whatever action was required.
I don’t know when my enthusiasm began to flag…I can’t say when exactly. I know that at some point I realised that I was sowing in church only because I wanted something…so I stopped throwing money at the pulpit. I started examining what I was listening to more critically, became quietly distant from talk of abundance and somehow I stopped asking with an expectation of an answer, my lists became “realistic”, I decided “waiting for a miracle” was a euphemism for “I want stuff that I cannot afford”.
I’m not sure when, I just know that I stopped asking with a true expectation to receive. When I asked, I asked the way we ask a benefactor whose disposition we cannot be sure is favourable to us…from a distance, with a slight sense of dread and with no real faith in a favourable answer.
With every day that my prayers did not come true, all I know is that I became quietly less hopeful. My exuberant belief in God’s abundance of provision turned to pursed lipped endurance and quiet forbearance… do you know the type I mean? Yes I knew that God was good, I just didn’t know if He wanted to be good to me.
Anyway, something happened last week that broke my heart…I found myself on the ground, weeping my heart out and asking God “How much longer?”. I wept and just spoke my heart to God (as an aside, I don’t agree with people that say God does not respond to our tears, according to the Bible, He puts my tears in His bottle, each one is precious to Him). When I finished, I didn’t hear a loud voice…or even a still small one…I did remember a snippet of scripture…Can a mother forget her suckling child? Yes she may, but I will not forget you.
It comforted me and then, in the next few days, something strange started to happen. I started to remember where I was last year, the year before. Almost outside my volition, I could trace my path, from then to now…and very clearly, I could track my progress, my growth and my blessings.
I had been guilty of judging God for what He had not yet done in this year, of thinking and praying in isolation…meanwhile, my God had been building me up…steadily and lovingly…blessing me beyond my requests. Like I said to my cousin, I asked Him for a teaspoon and He gave me a basket.
I realise that these things, these tests…they’re like tugs on the cords that hold me…a check to see if any is weak and needs strengthening. I realised that a part of me had started questioning God’s love for me…a part of me was unsure that He cared…this time…this season of hoping…and hope deferred…and hope almost lost…it showed me a mindset I’d never have realised if I hadn’t had to wait and to question. It forced me to ask myself and God some questions…it forced me to seek and wait for answers.
In the last 2 weeks or so…I have continued to randomly remember my blessings…miracles that were a huge deal when I first prayed for them that I now take for granted. Prayers I’d said that I’d forgotten had been answered. Unexpected blessings.
I had lost hope because I had stopped looking for and at my miracles, for my answered prayers, because they surround me.
2 days ago, I finally finished my plan for 2013 (yes, I only just finished planning my 2013 at the end of February), I had written my plans and goals…all achievable according to current income and ability. I was feeling quite productive and satisfied with myself… and then the quiet voice that is the source of all my midnight questions and early morning answers whispered to me ‘Why don’t you write a list of 10 things…10 things that you cannot achieve on your own, that only God could possibly do for you”
I shook my head…then I smiled…then I opened my page and began to type…