A friend once told me to “be careful what you pray for” because “God may answer your prayer in a way you don’t expect.”
She made this statement because we had been talking about her recent prayer to have more patience in her life. She felt rushed and was easily frustrated if things didn’t work or show results immediately. In realizing this, she prayed that God would help her be more patient and understand that everything doesn’t have to be immediate.
What happened? God presented her with even more situations to test and strengthen her patience on a daily basis. She relied on God to help her get through these situations and as a result, her patience improved and she grew closer to God.
I don’t think I fully grasped how true her statement about prayer was until recent years when I became a parent. I began to realize that as my daughter grew, I was being far too impatient with her in many situations.
Why can’t she just listen and understand? This is easy, figure it out!
Because of this, I prayed that the Lord would help me have more patience, particularly with my daughter.
But you can probably tell where I’m going with this… the Lord answered my prayer, just not in the easy way I had thought of in my own mind.
The main, repeating situation the Lord presented me with was my daughter’s newly found decision to NOT use the toilet when she needed to. Instead, she started waiting until it was too late, and she’d have an accident. This was particularly frustrating because she has been potty-trained for over a year and hadn’t had any trouble with this previously.
At first, I was once again very impatient with her.
How and why was this happening? It seemed so out of the blue. However, God opened my eyes to see this was one of the ways he wanted to test my patience.
So, I began to do what I should have done in the first place. I prayed. I relied on the Lord to help me stay calm and be understanding.
Though I am still dealing with this issue, it’s becoming less frequent and I have considerably more patience with my daughter.
This lesson has also helped me in several other aspects of my life caused by our rushed, often nonstop society where we expect immediate gratification. And most importantly, it brought me closer to God and reminded me that He is in control.
He may not always answer in the way we want Him to, but the Lord answers prayer, just remember to be prepared for His answer and be careful what you pray for.
Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times.