So I have two, three-year-old sons, and at this stage of life, bedtime books are all the rage. While they have since moved on to a different book, there was about a three-week stint where, without fail, The Three Bears was chosen by one of our two boys for their bedtime pick.
For those of you who may not have that story fresh in your mind, let me recap. Mama Bear makes porridge. The bears leave to let it cool. Shortly after, sneaky Goldilocks wanders into their house and tests out the porridge, rocking chairs, and the bed. Each time it is Baby Bear’s that is “just right!” So she eats all his porridge, breaks his rocking chair, and falls asleep in his bed! – Where are her manners?! When the three bears find the intruder, she wakes up, screams and runs away, never to be seen again.
And while the moral of that story may be “don’t walk into stranger’s house” or whether it was created to help children understand differences between small, medium, and large, I found that it applies to my prayer life. Many times I put “Baby Bear” qualifications in my prayers. I pray for something BUT I want it to be just right. It might look a little something like this…
“God, I am so thankful… Please provide me with a means of transportation to work today…but not the bus, that is too uncomfortable, and not the metro, people are too loud, but a hybrid with a carpool sticker….now that would be just right”
Or sometimes I pray something a little less obviously selfish: “God, my heart’s cry is to (you can fill in the blank)” and sometimes I see progress or hope in that realm, so I begin to show gratitude. “Thank you so much for moving and showing up and making your path clear.” But then a hiccup comes, something changes from the way I thought it should go, and my prayers turn into something more like, “Are you forgetting about me? Wait…what is going on? I thought this was your will…remember you made it so clear!”
So what gives me the right to ask for things that are just right? The right timing, the right brand, the right amount, the right structure, the right person. The truth is I don’t have the right! And here are some other equally valuable truths. I DO have the privilege of asking for anything my heart longs for, I DO have a loving heavenly Father who Loves me more than I can fathom, God HEARS my prayers and SEES me.
If I know all of that to be true, and if I really trust my father, don’t you think I can trust him when it I am in my darkest hour. Can I trust his promise that “He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it” and that nothing in my life will be wasted? Like Isaiah 61 says, God’s people will have “bestow(ed) on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Many times my faith waivers because I only have one viewpoint of the story. Sometimes I am the wandering little Goldilocks, completely unaware I am invading a predator’s house. But God, He has the WHOLE story- He sees all the angles, so now I just need to choose to trust in His process and have faith regardless of if things are going just right or they are completely falling apart.