AND PERHAPS, IN WAYS WE MIGHT NOT RECOGNIZE
When I was a new believer I remember raising my hand every time the church called for missionaries to the nations. For some reason, I never got to further this dream, and neither did anyone ever help me. So I thought it simply was not meant to be.
And then I married Joseph, a pastor, who was not part of my requests. Apparently, this was God’s plan and I saw it was a good one so I became confident to pursue it.
On our first year as husband and wife, we traveled to the U.S. and visited churches. On our second year, we traveled to South Africa to visit churches again. I remember that was the tail end of winter when we went, and we slept in rooms of church members and leaders in their own homes. (Contrary to what some may believe, I do not always stay in hotels. More often than not, we sleep in the homes of people we know to cut our costs.)
Now heaters in South Africa are not centralized. So we had one of those electric fan types, which you put right beside you for warmth as you go to sleep. In one particular home in Capetown, we’ve been comfortably using the plug and play heater when one night, at around three in the morning, electricity went out and we both woke up shivering from the cold. Since there was absolutely nothing that we could do about it, we decided to hug each other tightly until power comes back again. It was at this very moment when I realised that God had indeed answered my desire to be a missionary.
See my husband and I travel a lot. Mostly because some of our churches in parts of the world are requesting for his help. Most of the time in these trips, we don’t stay in hotels but in people’s houses, like I noted above. Sight seeing is also not the priority but church work. My husband’s official job description is a campus missionary with an executive director position. And because we are one — as in one room, one budget, one schedule, one goal — this also makes me a missionary. After all these years I finally understood that God actually answered my prayer. Yup, He made me a missionary, after all.
I share this story today thinking that perhaps I could encourage people who feel like God has not heard their prayers. I encourage you, please look again, and look closely. You might already be doing the very thing that you were asking for without knowing it. Because sometimes, God gives these gifts to us in very different packages and only by probing further will we know that it was what we had asked for.
Here are two things I can suggest we do when God gives quite a different answer from what we were expecting:
- Don’t fail to recognise the blessing. God always answers prayers. Sometimes with a yes, sometimes with a no, and sometimes yes, but with a little tweaking. Nevertheless, He answers. And your win in this situation is that God is still speaking to you today, which signifies you are still in a relationship, regardless of your expectations. His reply is the most precious blessing in this situation.
- Do not resent it. Don’t feel upset as though God fell short in meeting your needs. May we always remember that God has a divine plan, He is an intelligent designer (just look at the wonder of His creation!), therefore we can trust that His ways are always better than the best we can do or ever imagine. 🙂
It’s the 2nd week of January, how has it been so far for your prayer life?