Soulful Sunday: God Knows Best
Reflecting on where I stand now with my relationship with God, it is hard to imagine there was a time I used to live very angry at God. I believed that He was ignoring me, infuriated at Him for not answering my prayers or giving me what I requested. I questioned what I did to deserve this treatment. Everyone around me was being blessed and receiving gifts but I felt I was getting the short end of the stick. At a young age I gave my life to Christ so why was I being punished? I lived in a self-centered, egotistical world. Things were supposed to happen the way I wanted. I wanted to receive all that I asked for and quickly. I never spoke of my disappointment in God but displayed it by pushing away. I struggled with my faith because of God’s silencewhen I cried out to Him in my time of greatest need. Where was He? Weren’t my tears enough to get His attention? I stopped going to church and spending time with God. I stopped praying. When my family would pray before a meal, I just sat there with my head down pretending to be engaged. I was fourteen when I began to disconnect due to certain circumstances that portrayed God to me in a different light which made me feel ashamed and unworthy. I experienced periods of drawing closer and then pulling away again up until I was nineteen. That was when I completely shut God out. It was when I felt most disowned by God, most betrayed and forgotten. It was when I truly believed things I was told that God would never forgive me for what I was doing. I did nothing to earn his unconditional love. My life was one mistake, failure, and disappointment after the other that I felt left me undeserving of answered prayers.
As much as I felt I warranted a life of being disregarded by God, it still brought me anger that I could not receive the great gift the rest of the world was blessed to be given. There was a part of me that was deeply hurt I was the exception to God’s absolute forgiveness and love. I was left confused as to why all of my prayers never saw resolution. I was so full of mixed emotions and beliefs. Half of me wanted my prayers answered and the other half convinced myself I wasn’t deserving of that blessing. Part of me was sad my prayers were appearing to go unheard while the other part was happy they were for it validated my belief that I lived a life worthy of being forgotten.
Looking back on that time with the perspective I have now and being in the place I am in life, I see that time period with great clarity. I am overcome with much revelation and gratitude towards God. There are two things I realize. Number one is that there was a very worthy, explainable reason why some of my prayers never got answered. There is a great purpose why, despite my daily, hourly, minutely prayers for God to end my life, He chose to spare it instead. I was relentless in that prayer too. It was a prayer of pleading and desperation. It was a prayer of great emotion and spoken in pain. It was a prayer of last resort, a prayer of defeat and exhaustion. I could not do it anymore and was determined to say that prayer until I no longer had to. God, unfortunately to me at the time but a great blessing to me now, had other plans. He saw the bigger picture that I could not as I was blinded by the pain of the anorexia. He had a reason for leaving that prayer unanswered, and that reason I live every day. Every new experience, every life I touch, every blog I write, every word I speak, every new opportunity I am presented explains why God did not answer my prayer. I had a calling I still had not answered to. I had a purpose I had not yet fulfilled. I had a destiny not yet discovered. I had a relationship with God that needed restoring and mending. I had Satan to defeat and show who would always win out, prove to him that good will always be mightier than evil, love will always overcome hate, faith will forever surpass fear. I realized He may not take away the struggles like I wished, but He will most surely give me everything I need to get through the trials, never forsake me during the times of pain, and never give me more than I can handle.
Number two is that many of the prayers I thought God wasn’t answering, He actually was. It just wasn’t in the way I pictured. It didn’t come perfectly packaged with a bow. It wasn’t clear cut and able to be perfectly explained. They came in different forms, in ways I had to learn to decipher. I asked for strength and God gave me difficulties to make me strong. He lead me down a path of hardships and trials to break away any weakness. He allowed the presence of struggles so I had the opportunity to build strength and learn what I was capable of enduring and surviving.
I asked for wisdom and God gave me problems to solve. He gave me lessons to teach me and help me gain knowledge on life and who I am and what I want. He placed tests in my life to see how much I have learned. Every day I am given a new time of training with God so He can impart in me wisdom on how to proceed through life and how to draw closer to Him. I asked for prosperity and success and God gave me a passion in which to turn into a job. He placed things in my life that drew me to my purpose and gave me the knowledge to know how to turn that into a way to make a living. He gave me brains and energy to go out in the world and work to earn my wealth not only in money but in happiness and contentment. I asked for courage and God gave me dangers to overcome. He gave me mountains to climb, holes to climb out of, dragons to slay. He placed one obstacle after another before me, knowing He would be by my side the whole time for support and for guidance, so I could gain bravery with each one tackled. I asked for patience and God placed me in situations where I was forced to wait. He gave me long processes to endure and never giving me a simple fix so that I was given a lesson in waiting. Through this I not only learned patience but that all great things are worth the wait and will all come in time. I learned to appreciate everything more and treasure them more for what it took to obtain them. I learned what it meant to persevere and have faith. I asked for love and God placed in my life troubled, hurting people to help. He exposed me to pain so that I could reach out to those in empathy and show them my heart which in return they show me theirs. He allowed me to experience my own level of struggle so that I would learn how to accept the compassion and support of others and know what it meant to be cared for and be in the heart of another so deeply. He positioned me in a state of vulnerability so I had no other choice but to allow others to love me. I asked for favors and God gave me opportunities. He gave me chances to make what I wanted happen through my own doing. He gave my life openings in which to receive true blessings. I asked for my life to end and God gave rebirth. He revived and transformed me. He took the old and created something new. He took the caterpillar and brought it through a metamorphosis to turn into a beautiful, free, soaring butterfly. I realized that I received nothing I wanted at the time but received everything I needed.
I sit here today feeling so blessed for the unanswered prayers and the ones He answered but in seemingly obscure ways. He took my wants and prayers and redirected them to what He knew would lead me to my destiny. Each response to every one of my prayers has brought me to the place of hope and happiness I am in today. I realized that they are God’s greatest gifts to me. God did it all because He knows what is best for me, and I need to trust that His ways and path for me are far greater than anything I could have designed for myself. His ways will lead me to a more beautiful life…
Love, light, and bravery, J.L.