DON’T be careful what you ask for {Miss April}

April 28, 2014

This week while I was cleaning the kitchen (an endless chore that never really gets completed) my three year old surprised me with an odd question. She does this about 33 times a day on average, but this one caused me to pause.

“Momma, how can I be more patient?”

Kids are always asking questions that you don’t always have the answer for, but this question especially left me at a loss. She was asking for an answer that I sought at least on a daily basis.

“I don’t know baby. I think you just have to ask God to help you be more patient.” I answered honestly.

My husband happened to be in the kitchen about that time and chimed in half-jokingly, and half-serious, “Uhhh, no. You don’t wanna do that!”

Perhaps he was kidding. Perhaps his comment was delivered out of protectiveness for his child. But what it brought to mind for me was a very real struggle we deal with as finite human beings. It made me consider my own fear and past refusal to pray for change in myself.

We are taught from a young age of the wrath of God. We learn stories in Sunday school of a flood destroying mankind, the book of Job, and even Jonah being swallowed by a whale. We learn pretty quickly that we better listen to that big ole, angry God. Or else.

As we grow older we are also taught that when something bad happens God must be trying to teach us something. We must have made some mistake along the way and he’s trying to get us back in line. Fellow Christians mean well with their attempted explanation of why bad things happen. They mean to instill hope that “God is in control” or that “everything happens for a reason.” These things are true, but if you look at God through only one view of His character you will be left disappointed and also fearful because you do not understand.

We’re also taught along the way that you better “watch out what you ask for.” For some reason it’s often explained that if you pray for change in your heart and in your life that it’s going to hurt. Really bad in fact. It’s often referred to as Refiner’s Fire, the act of God burning out your inequities. I agree to that in a sense, but as with most ideals of mankind we have distorted and warped something that was meant to be beautiful. We forget of the beautiful vessel that will emerge from the flame, and instead focus on the pain of getting there.

With this mindset in place you end up with a bunch of people afraid of change. They’re fearful for betterment because they’ve had it pounded into their heads that it will hurt terribly.

We end up hearing phrases like “no rain, no rainbows” and respond “ok with me!” We decide we can forgo the blessing or the changes to our character. We don’t really need them anyway. Not if it’s gonna hurt like everyone says it will.

I believe that hard times come. I believe that God refines us in these moments and we emerge stronger, better, changed. I used to be afraid of this process though. I’ve gotten better over time, but I still must be reminded on occasion. In the past I was afraid to pray for it. I wasn’t looking at who God is to me. Not completely anyway.

He is a vengeful God. He is all-knowing. He does control my life down to the last minute detail, even as He allows me the gift of free will to fall on my face when I make poor decisions. He can change my heart. He does allow struggle to make me better in the long run.

But He is also love. He is also my Father. And I am His beloved. Oh me. That’s worth repeating to yourself. I am His beloved.

When you remember that, when you remember His character and love for you it banishes fear. It banishes a fear of change, or pain, or rain. It replaces it with hope, with faith that He has your best in mind. You know in your heart that He loves you, and though it may hurt a little, He will carry you through whatever it may be and restore you to a place higher than you ever imagined.

That is my God. That is your God. Don’t be afraid to pray for change. Even if change comes in the form of drenching rains, keep faith that you can always take shelter in His wings until it passes.

 

brie 032.CR2Brie Gowen is our Blogger of the Month for April. Brie is a Registered Nurse and a mother to two small daughters. You can read more about Brie to the right of this page and find her at www.savortheessenceoflife.com.

 

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