The Unrequited Prayer
As the seasons change, I can’t help but reflect on the transition of my life. Anyone who knows me can tell you that I’m a forward thinker. This can often be my downfall as I become so wrapped up in the future that I miss out on the moment. I stress about bills that will need to be paid, children unborn, and conversations unsaid. I try my best during these hectic times to lean on my belief in the higher power and stay focused on the here and now. Not long ago, I assumed that God always answered your prayer with something. It seemed like simple math that I would say I needed C and He would give me A and B to make it happen. I soon realized that God answers your prayers how He sees fit. Sometimes these didn’t come in the form of additions but in subtractions.
My mom was laid off from her job of 27 years this past Friday. Her company had spent the last few months trimming up departments but I knew she was safe from this. After all, she had been with them for more than half her life and was probably one of the hardest workers on their roster. This obviously came with a lot of sacrifices on her part. These sacrifices looked like headaches centered around workplace politics, nights spent with my grandparents while she worked the night shift, early mornings, late nights, bringing work home, and even taking work on vacation. This was her comfy place and most likely would be where she spent her last years working.
When I found out she had been cut, I was thinking that God had really dropped the ball on this one. Once again I had been praying and God had allowed me to go unheard. It’s hard to stay faithful to someone when you feel as if they aren’t fully hearing you out. It’s hard to stay faithful when you see everyone around you receiving what you prayed for. It’s like I prayed for my mom but everyone else received the benefits. She was one of two people in her department to be cut; how insulting.
What I didn’t fathom in the moment is that maybe God hadn’t skipped a beat. God had did more than answer my own prayer. He had possibly provided my mom with a favor that she didn’t know she needed. Though she didn’t have a job, she finally had a freedom that had been unavailable to her for nearly three decades. She could stay up as late as she wanted, she could go to the movies in the middle of the week, she could read, and she could just be still.
This is the funny thing about prayer. God always knows what we need even when we don’t ask for it. I wanted my mom to keep her job so it would sustain her. I didn’t realize that her losing her job was His way of sustaining her. We think God does us dirty when we don’t get what we want. We curse His name when that relationship ends, job falls through, or when things generally don’t go in our favor.
I can honestly look back and say that every seemingly unanswered prayer worked in my favor. The job I wanted in 2014 with a great company turned me down after a fairly delightful interview process. This allowed me to go back home for a month to NC and spend time with my family and my friend who would soon give birth to her daughter. My relationship that I poured tirelessly into ended and I was able to focus on being a person worth loving through loving myself. The people God took out of my life after my accident provided me with a clear view of those who truly mattered and supported me.
God is interesting in that sense. He always gives us more than we deserve even if we don’t understand it in the moment. Not to say that you can’t be angry but pause and think: maybe He is doing you a favor. Was your prayer big enough for Him or was it simply just to pacify your needs? Don’t underestimate His presence in your life when you don’t fully see His purpose. Sometimes He removes what you prayed for because it is a distraction to the plans He has for you. You have to be willing to transition with God as He gives you signs that a new season is coming for you.
What are some prayers that you thought went unheard?