Be Careful What You Pray For

It’s been said, “Be careful what you pray for because God just might give it to you!” Or more accurately, if you pray for God to grant you a virtue, do you think He just snaps His fingers like a genie and boom, you have patience or wisdom? Hardly. If you pray for patience, God usually answers by giving you situations where you must practice patience! Because practice is how you master something, including virtues.

I experienced this firsthand last weekend. Well, it actually started a month ago when I made a decision that was neither good nor bad, but the situation had caught me off guard and my response ended up making things slightly complicated. Not bad, not wrong, just inconvenient. But I was so upset by not foreseeing it, that you’d think it was the end of the world. Needless to say, I was not happy that something so trivial could unbalance me like that. Life is full of hardships! If I let tiny hiccups drive me insane, then how am I supposed to handle important crises? So I prayed God would help me to handle small situations better so when the big stuff hit, I’d be ready.

Can you guess what happened next?

Last weekend my mom took my car in for regular maintenance. (She’s the best mom ever, volunteering to do it since I wasn’t feeling well.) After an hour she called me and said, “Are you sitting down?”
My car is getting old, so it wasn’t really a surprise when the mechanic said they found three major parts about to break. Okay, so the cost I budgeted for will go up by….? <jaw drop> However, I was quite proud of myself for not crying, lol. “Ok, I can rearrange some funds and put some things on hold. No big deal.”

Thirty minutes later, I hear a strange noise. I turn around and notice the cat in the hallway staring into the bathroom, her body language stiff. I get up and flick on the light switch and…water is streaming out of the vent in the ceiling! I run to the kitchen to grab a bowl to catch the water, and on the way back I notice water is also streaming out of the heating vent in the living room and the hallway light switch. The sound of more water is coming from the furnace closet, and lo and behold, water’s pouring through there too!

So now it’s my turn to call my mother and preface with, “Don’t freak out, but…”

Turns out the neighbors upstairs (who were moving in that very day) let the toilet run until it overflowed. Now, aside from the initial panic of “what the hell is happening?!” and “how do I make it stop?!”, I still did not break down or have an anxiety attack. I threw towels down, left a message with property management (because it was the weekend and no one was in the office), and then sat back and waited until the water petered out to drips and everything was just wet, but no longer flooding.

As I was cleaning up, I was struck with the memory of that prayer I’d been praying to be better able to handle real crises, not trivial ones my brain overreacted to. Well, God answered my prayer.


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Missing the Miracle

In January of 2007, I answered an inner calling to travel to Spokane, Washington.  I’m not a spontaneous person, but something tugged at me with a strength and allure I could not deny–hope.

One of my friends from college lived up there and told me about the Healing Rooms.  It was a place people came from all over to seek and find healing prayer.  I’ve had health problems my entire life.  Even with advances in technology, my diabetes was severe, and the very modern day conveniences that made controlling it easier often caused me great pain.  I had only been diagnosed with celiac three years before and was still in denial.  On top of that, I had been struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts for the past fourteen years.

So I bought a plane ticket, even though I hate to fly and dislike travel, not to mention it was freezing cold in a place that saw heavy snowfall.  (While there, I learned that snow is only pretty after the first fall.  Then it becomes brown slush.)  I was a senior in college, and was spending my cherished winter break chasing hope.

My friend took me to visit the Healing Rooms.  It was like a free clinic, in a way.  First come, first serve.  There were several rooms where volunteers gathered in numbers of two or three to meet with people and pray over them.  They praised a high success rate, and even local hospitals invited them to come down and pray with patients.  I didn’t go in that first day.  We looked around, picked up a few pamphlets and a book, and went home where we dove into the Bible, examining the verses and passages their faith was based on.  We even visited some local pastors to discuss the matter with them.

And you know what?  I found no flaw in their beliefs.

I went back to the Healing Rooms and asked for prayer that God would cure me of my diabetes and gluten allergy.  Before they prayed, one of the men stepped forward and said he sensed there was something else I needed healing from–my depression.  I had forgotten about it, believing that if my physical troubles were over, that would follow.  They laid hands on me and prayed for healing, calling upon the promises in the Bible and the promise of life in Christ.

And I believed.

Then came the tricky part: when would I experience my full healing?  For the next couple days, my diabetes got markedly better.  I started decreasing my medication without consequence.  But days turned into weeks, and weeks into months.  Still, I held on to this hope that God would heal me of my afflictions.

Hope turned to disappointment, to anger.

Before you come to the conclusion that God doesn’t exist or miracles don’t happen, let me say that in my anger and hurt, I missed the miracle.  I am sad to say that it took me a whole year before I realized that God indeed had healed something very important–my depression.  Since that day, I have not had one day lost to despair, one suicidal thought.  God may not have healed me the way I wanted, but He did heal the thing that was preventing me from having a relationship with Him.

I still believe God will heal me of the other stuff someday, though whether it be in this life or in the next, that is up to Him.  I realized the wrongness in my prayers those years ago.  God is not a genie for us to call upon when we want something.  Answering my prayer the *way* I wanted would not have brought Him glory.  Even today, in this new year, not knowing how I will pay for my medical supplies without insurance, deeply desiring miraculous healing so life would be easier, I know that it would not teach me faith the way God wants to.

Stripped of everything I have ever depended on, I am left with only Him.  There is a profound peace to be had living in full dependence on God.  It is something I am only beginning to glimpse and understand, as fear still gnaws at me.  And while the road may be harder, if God were to grant me a healing modern medicine can’t explain, I would miss another, greater miracle–learning to live in and love God’s everyday provision.


Phoenix Feather is on sale now for $.99 on Amazon!

The feather and who it represents is both a catalyst for darkness and destruction, and the vessel of love and hope.  In a world full of joy and sorrow, love and misery, this agent is a light seeking a balance between two inevitable realities in a sinful world, and is ultimately the final hope for something better.