“God help me!”
“God I promise I’ll do ___ if you do this for me!”
I know that I spent years praying for my marriage, only to have it end in divorce. I’m sure there’ll be those quick to stand and testify that I gave up too soon and that’s why it ended, but I guess I’m circumventing those few Negative Nellies to get to a deeper point.
I prayed for a healed marriage.
I did my part by taking classes, courses, and working on myself to make sure I was holding up my end of the bargain. But marriage takes two. I was only one.
My prayers were not answered.
I learned a lot as I prayed for my marriage. About God.
Because as I learned to pray, I also learned about who I was praying to. And I discovered that He cares deeply about me.
Sometimes when people hear my story, they get a look on their face that says “you’re making this up”. I know it sounds contrived. And I am also aware that it doesn’t compare to the horrors that others are forced to endure in their lifetimes. But that’s not the point.
The point is to recognize that the pain we face, work through, and eventually accept as part of our individual makeup, is just that. Part of who we are.
The excruciating events. The dreadful loneliness. The sting of abandonment, the unbearable weight of loss, the tragedies, the multiple minor infractions that compound until we’re left with a gaping wound we can’t even begin to know how to repair.
These hard, hard things that we have been forced to withstand have shaped us. And if we do the work of wrestling with them, we come out stronger because of them.
I do not mean to be trite.
In no way do I pretend to have it all together, or figured out.
But through my mess I have gleaned the very basic principle that God is good. Even to me. Even when my world has been turned upside down, inside out, and I was left feeling deserted, wounded, and scared.
He has been good to me, and has coaxed me, coached me, taught me, and championed me.
So here I am on the edge of a new chapter and have felt Him calling me to join Him in creating it. He wants me to pray.
He wants me to take hold of the promises He has spoken to me over the years, in my darkest of nights and to pray them back to Him.
He wants me to hold up the dreams He planted within my heart; the very ones that I have repeatedly begged Him to remove if they were just empty fantasies. And to grip them with an iron fist, declaring His goodness.
Sometimes I feel like I may be on the brink of insanity; those times where my logic wars with my heart.
But He reminds me continuously that these are from Him. And that He wants me to be invested. To be intentional about partnering with Him in it all.
So here’s the thing: my prayers for my marriage were not realized the way I expected or hoped them to be.
But the God I discovered as I faced the pain of death and divorce over the years is the very same one spoken of in the Bible. The One who never changes. Who is faithful. And good.
The One who replaces my mourning with Joy. Who brings beauty out of my ashes.
So why do I bother to pray?
Because it brings me closer to Him. And the closer I get the more I understand how He sees me. How precious I am to Him.
I can still wail. Still be disappointed for a time. But He’s always come through for me in better ways than I had previously imagined, so why would it stop now?
I don’t have nice little bows to wrap this up with… But I will tell you this: either my imagination is extremely extraordinary, or my God is bigger than what I’m praying for.
And if He wants me to pray…
Dammit, I’ll pray.