Be Careful What You Ask For

Written by Diane Forler


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I’m a pretty smart cookie, right?  College graduate, great career, wife and Mom, 3 time homeowner, world traveler, pretty much able to sort things out.  Most of the time.  But sometimes I amaze myself with my apparent stupidity.  Have you ever wished for something, prayed, even begged God for something, finally taken it into your own hands and made it happen yourself…then looked around and said “Uh-Oh”?  Of course, we all have.  We think we know what we need, and don’t necessarily wait for God’s answer when we ask for it, so convinced are we that this is the only answer, path to happiness, or solution to a problem.  We pray, that’s who we are, but then we plunge ahead without really seeking His answer.

I made a big decision that way back in the 80s that led to a move to a different city, and changed the course of my life.  I had 2 really “good” reasons to be certain this was God’s will:  the end of a relationship, and missing my Mom and Dad.  I vaguely remember telling God that I wanted to move (run away?), where I wanted to move to, and basically saying “OK, God?”  So I found a job, made the move, and life went on.  Maybe it WAS His will, maybe He made the job and everything else fall into place.  It’s possible, but at the time I really don’t think I waited on His answer.  I just up and went!  I was glad to be closer to home, made some good friends, and even moved forward in my faith.  But I have always wondered, what would my life be like now if I had waited on Him then.   Would I have married someone different, married younger, never married?  Would my career have gone in a different direction?  What other aspects of my life did He want to do differently?

It is my belief that when we make decisions on our own, without seeking Him, God, in His loving way, slaps the palm of His hand to His forehead and says “My child, what were you thinking?” – and desperately wants to intervene, give us a push in the direction He knows we should take.  But then, being our ABBA “Daddy”, He lets us stumble, then helps us pick up the pieces.  So many times He has done that for me, and now in my 60s I think I am finally catching on that taking the time to wait for Him is a really good idea.

Please don’t misunderstand, I do not regret my marriage and cannot imagine life without the exact kids I have.  I love my family deeply.  But it breaks my heart that they do not share my spiritual journey with me.  Maybe if I had sought His will better, my family would be part of my spiritual life.  I still know He has a plan for them, loves them and wants them for His own, and my prayer is for Him to use me or whomever or whatever He chooses to reach them and bring them closer to Him.  I am determined to keep praying and seeking His will until that happens in His way.  I am determined not to get in His way this time.

People are rallying in large groups today for causes that may or may not get them what they really want.  I just wonder how much God-seeking is going on, and how much people on both sides of these issues are only giving God lip service, praying but then plunging ahead without really seeking His guidance.  Sweeping changes are probably needed, and I hope that His will is a part of the changes we are rallying for. 

 2 Chronicles 7:14 (“If my people…”) is quoted a lot these days.  Social issues that fly in the face of God’s word are not going to align with His will, and we as His Church must lead in the quest for His truth and His will in our world today.  We must love all people, meet people where they are, accept the differences we are going to see in our diverse society.  But when we are looking to set priorities and truly seek His will, we cannot compromise in our alignment to His word.  It is a challenging time for our Church and especially for our leaders, as we try to navigate the changes in our world.  It is my prayer that we seek, wait for, and follow His will unwaveringly so that His will is fulfilled.