When we pray, God hears more than we say, answers more than we ask, gives more than we imagine… in HIS own time & HIS own way.
One of my facebook friends posted that quote, adding, “I think some people get upset when they don’t get the answer they expect right away…when something much better [is] just around the corner.”
I’d say that goes for most people, really. It’s hard NOT to be upset when I feel like I need something but don’t know how, whether, or when I’ll get it. A few things that help me:
– Being honest with myself and with the Lord about my feelings: “I’m really overwhelmed.” “I’m lonely.” “I feel like I’ve failed, again.” I can change my thoughts. I can change my actions. But I can’t change my feelings by pure will alone, anymore than I can change being tired or hungry without rest or food. But the Lord can change my heart, little by little, if I will let Him. The Spirit can comfort me and teach me what to do.
– Observing the other blessings in my life, and having gratitude for them: Yeah, so I don’t have clear answers when it comes to certain overwhelming questions, but not a single day goes by without some small miracle to reaffirm that the Lord loves me and is aware of me, and will help me fry the bigger fish when the timing is right.
– Changing the WHYs to WHATs: Not “whuuuuut…” but, “What can I learn from this experience?” My personal favorite in what seems to be a constantly overwhelming existence is, “What should I do right now, today?” If I study my scriptures and record my thoughts on the problems I’m dealing with and on the scriptures I’ve read… honestly, I can’t think of a single instance where I haven’t been blessed with guidance for the moment that leads to a better situation overall.
– Remembering others: If you still need more evidence that the Lord answers prayers, try praying about the people you love, and asking how you can serve them. Seriously, try it right now if you’d like. Then, act on the promptings you receive. Some will be obvious. The other day I prayed for a friend and got a call right away; he wasn’t feeling well and needed a ride. When I picked him up, he thanked me and then teased, “You exist to serve me, don’t you?” The truth is, we do exist to serve each other. The key is to listen to the Spirit.
Resist the urge to elaborate on those promptings, unless the answer you received was to try to impress your friend (and I doubt that :)). My mom has always been a great example of no-frills, sincere service. I can’t say how many times she’d stop what she was doing and randomly cut a few of the most beautiful flowers she could from the yard. She’d put them in a mason jar full of water and promptly walk it over to a neighbor, also offering a listening ear, a hug, and her heart. Had she said, “These flowers look pitiful compared to what I could get at the store. Maybe I should make a card and bake a cake, too, and go buy a better vase.” — she may well have missed the moment.
So Listen to the promptings, and then don’t delay: make those tiny tweaks in your own life. Call that friend and tell them you are thinking of them, even if you don’t know them that well. Share your meal, even if it is meager. Faith isn’t a principle of feeling, it’s a matter of action. Don’t make the Lord wait on YOU. 🙂
And without further delay, I’m off to see what He wants me to do today.