I do it to my fictional characters all the time. They have their goals, and I thwart them at nearly every opportunity. And then I whisper in their tiny, fictional ears, “Don’t worry. I’ve got this.”
But we’re not fictional characters, and when we need something, it’s real. I’ve made requests of the Author of life, only to have Him do something completely different, all the while whispering, “Don’t worry, I’ve got this.” But like my characters, I don’t always hear Him.
When my husband was out of work about ten years ago, I prayed that God would give him a job. And then I outlined the type of job he should get, how much it should pay, and where it should be. I was very specific about what kind of boss I wanted Eddie to have and what kind of company he should work for.
There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s good to be specific about what you want. But these kinds of prayers can lead to problems. When Eddie would get an interview with the right company—according to my specifications—I’d get my hopes up, sure this was going to be the job. And then when he didn’t get it, I’d be disappointed and feel like God had let us down. When he had an interview with the wrong kind of company, I’d hold my breath and pray he didn’t get a job offer he wasn’t supposed to take. I was so sure I knew what was best.
The older I get, the more I realize how much I don’t know. I’m a little like the characters in my books. They can only see the page they’re standing on. I might be real, but my “wisdom” is so limited, my foresight so flawed, I can barely predict dinner. And now with three teenagers pointing out my shortcomings, I’m more aware than ever of my personal limitations.
Tweet this: God doesn’t need my input. He’s got this.
One thing I’ve learned over the years is that God doesn’t need my input. I have goals for my life. But he has plans for eternity. I want something here and now. He wants to grow my character and my faith. He wants me to pray and trust Him, and when I start to worry, he wants me to pray again. He doesn’t want me to fix it—whatever “it” is. He doesn’t need me to come up with multi-layered strategies. He just wants me to trust Him.
What happened with my husband’s job? He got a job offer from a friend who owned a new, very small company, and I worried. A decade later, the business is going strong, and I know that the job was exactly God’s plan for Eddie. Like my characters, I couldn’t see beyond that page of the book. But the Author knew what He was doing all along.
So today, rather than outlining my solutions, I try to hand Him my needs and say, “Do your thing. Perform a miracle. I trust you with this.” Is it easy? Not always. Has God ever let me down? Not once.
How has God answered your prayers in ways you didn’t expect?
Robin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her first two books were Faith House and One Christmas Eve. Her third book, Finding Amanda, will release this spring. Robin works as a freelance editor at Robins Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian fiction. Sign up for Robin’s newsletter at robinpatchen.com and receive a free e-cookbook and excerpts from her next novel.