Excerpt from a recent conversation I had with a priest friend as we discussed my frustrations with God and His inability to answer my prayers in the way I saw fit.
“Did you find it?” he said to me.
“What?” I responded.
“The box where you put God.”
He repeated, “The box where you put God until He answered your prayers as you see fit.”
“I didn’t do that!”
“Yes, you did. You are limiting Him by insisting that your way is the only way. You forget, He keeps this universe running. He keeps your heart beating. He makes your cells divide and, each day, He keeps you from floating off the face of the planet through gravity. You put Him in a box by insisting that your way is His Way, when He knows far better than you do what needs to be done with your prayers of petition”
It’s rare, but, I had words. He laughed because he knew I was stuck.
“You can’t control God. Move over and let Him do the work. He’s the Miracle Maker. You aren’t. All you have comes from Him, and that includes the gift of prayer. He’s trying to teach you something. Stop and think about what. Better yet, ask Him what He wants you to learn. You might be surprised. I want to hear what you discover. The Holy Spirit will help you.”
“Right,” I said. “Sure.”
Of course, I wasn’t happy with Father’s answer to me, but I felt I had to pray about this. I wanted to know why God was not answering my prayers as I wanted Him to do.
“Father,” I said. “I know You are the God of creation. You are the living God who makes all things good. Why aren’t you answering my prayers the way I would like for You to answer them?”
I waited. Nothing. I prayed again. No response. Nothing. I finally quit asking. God was, again, not answering my prayers. Sheesh!
Two weeks later, I decided to begin the overwhelming task of cleaning th basement. There was so much to sort out. I made a pile for trash, giveaway, and keep. I knew it would take some time, but each of these piles would be full to the brim. I would use many plastic trash bags to complete this task. I hauled the trash outside to the garbage cans. I packed my car with items for the thrift store. I resorted the items I wanted to keep. Wash, rinse, repeat.
In the second sorting I decided to open a box I almost threw away. There was a lot of torn papers. These were from my children’s school days. I almost threw away these beautiful treasures! There was a Christmas tree made from handprints! I wondered where this had been! I found a turkey made with small hands. I found so many wonderful items that took me back to those innocent days. I kept going through the box. I found a small journal that my son had made for Thanksgiving. It was a gratitude journal. In his childish scrawl he had written:
“I’m thankful for turkey because I really like turkey.
I love cabbage salad! My mom makes the best cabbage salad in the world!
I’m thankful for my mom and dad because I know they love me.
I guess I’m thankful for my sister even though she’s so bossy.
I’m thankful for God. He gave me mom, dad, and my bossy sister, and I didn’t have to do anything! God loves me, and He likes to see me happy! I can hardly wait to see what He does next!
Mom told me God can do anything! I can hardly wait to see what God does next!”
Then he drew a picture of God huggin and kissing him.
“I didn’t have to do anything.” Those words rang in my ears. “I didn’t have to do anything.” He knew His blessings and He knew that God loved him enough to place in the family where he would thrive.
“God can do anything. I didn’t have to do anything.”
Suddenly humbled by my child’s complete trust in God, I saw what God was asking of me. He wanted to me to step aside, to trust Him in all things, and to be patient. His time is not my time. I can’t control God, and He loves and respects me too much to take away my free will. He was simply waiting there. He’s always been there for me. Well, it’s not going to be easy since I like to control, but I was given the gift of this knowledge. I don’t have to do anything to receive His blessings.
God loves me. He can do anything, in His time and in His way, if it’s His Will. I only had to wait and hope.
Thank You, Lord. Thank You. I found the box where I had put You and You taught me.