This sounds silly, I know. But sometimes, I’m afraid to pray. As much as my head knows that God is a good father in heaven, there’s a part of me that just can’t stop comparing Him to earthly fathers. You want me to give you something to cry about?
And so lately, I find myself hiding from God. And when my prayers do go up, they’re like grenades lobbed toward the sky. I pull the pin and run for cover because I’m pretty sure some part of my life is going to get blown up when He answers.
I’ve been around God long enough to know He’s in the business of changing things. And even though it’s always for my good, the process of getting there isn’t always what I would choose. Sometimes I don’t like it. I don’t like it one bit.
One of the hard things about being a mom is feeling like such a hypocrite – especially when it comes to prayer. How can I keep telling my kids to pray and trust God if I don’t? I tell them to pray, and then I don’t. Or I do pray, but I don’t trust Him with the answer.
My heart wants so badly to do God’s will, but some part of me always seems convinced I’m going to end up like Peter, crucified upside down in the line of duty.
God answers prayers, yes. But He doesn’t always say yes. Sometimes He says no. And sometimes we have to wait. And I’m not very good at waiting. In line at the store, at stop lights, for my muffins to be done in the oven. No, not good at waiting.
And so one day I found myself sitting at yet another stop light. There God showed me how much these three simple colors reflect the way He answers our prayers.
I loved this because growing up, the message I heard a lot was that God always answers our prayers. As if He’d give me what I wanted if I just had enough faith and kept asking. But that wasn’t true. If it was, someone else would have asked me to prom and I would have grown up with a lot of ponies in my backyard.
No, God is not some pinata in the sky that we whack and wait for the goodies to come out.
He’s more like a good parent. Sometimes He says no and it’s for our own good. Like when we tell our kids no sometimes. No, you can’t run into the street. No, you can’t lick the shopping cart. No, that’s not whip cream. It’s bird poop. It’s all for their own good.
God is like that, too. And those three little circles on the stop light reflect more than a set of symbols for driving. They represent a more realistic representation of how God really works in prayer.
Sometimes He tells His children stop or slow down and wait when they want to go. Or He tells them go when they want to stay where they are.
And just like in driving, it’s a good idea to obey the rules.
- Continuing to go when the light is red rarely ends well. Some part of your life is going to explode in a crash with carnage everywhere. Like when I was in college and let some guy convince me to attend a “marketing” seminar. All lights were red on this one, but he was hot and I went anyway. Two weeks later I was left figuring out what do with $1000 worth of multi-level marketing water filters taking up shoe space in my closet.
- Sitting at the light stopped when it’s turned green and you’re supposed to be going only results in frustration for you and those around you. The road ahead might look scary and unknown, but you still need to take a step in faith and drive forward if God’s telling you to go. Drive!
- And even though it’s hard to wait sometimes, if He’s asking you to wait, trust that waiting on God’s timing and direction is better than taking things into your own hands. It’s easy to confuse action with progress. They’re different.
So the next time you’re sitting bored at a stop light or your kids are bossing you around backseat driving, do this instead:
Take a moment to reflect with your kids on God’s love for you and the way he answers prayers. Choose to believe He will work all things out for your good (Romans 8:28). Remember His ways aren’t ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). Trust in him and lean not in your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). He’s a much better driver.