There are three requests in my life that illustrates how we pray and need to rely on His wisdom and timing. The first was when I prayed for God to allow us to adopt a little girl. I remember describing her to God. My prayers were fervent and emphatic. On our part, we had been working with our county for over 4 years and we were losing hope. We changed our preferences from one child to two, requiring the little girl to be under 4 and the other sibling to be older. When God answered our prayer He gave us two children, our little girl who was two and our son who was seven. I remember how my request to God was constantly for a girl and He answered. He gave us two children. This was no mistake either. Our sovereign God answered our prayer according to His good purpose and went beyond what I prayed. I needed to rely on His wisdom It is interesting to see how God has used my son to teach me a lot, much that I am still learning.
A couple of years before this when our oldest son was heading for University, I was without a job. Two years had passed and I needed to be working to help him pay his schooling. I prayed that God would give me a good job at a good school. My prayer was also clear that I only wanted to do this a year and then I wanted to be in ministry full time again. Just after our son started his Freshman year, God answered. He gave me a good job at a good school. I finished the first year, and was offered another year which I accepted. In my prayer time with the Lord, I said that since He had not answered my prayer for full time ministry, it was perhaps a good choice to work another year. That year was the worse I have had in all my career teaching. All the struggles during that year led me to realize what I had prayed before. I remembered that it was time to seek full time ministry. God had answered my prayer two years before and yet I had assumed His will for me. I was not relying on His wisdom.
After this I continued to pray for God to lead me back to ministry. I was now without a job again and yet again I took a step to control things. It was past mid school year when I decided to apply for a job. I figured four months would not violate my commitment to serve the Lord full time. I got the job. After the first week of school, I was ready to quit. It was the worse I've experienced in a school. I counted each passing day, prayed fervently, longing for God to allow me to finish.There were many times that I wanted to quit. "I don't need this", I thought to myself. Come June, I couldn't be more relieved. Once again, I had relied on my own wisdom and timing.
But I was still without a place for ministry. So I continued to be assertive and sent out my resume to many places (my written count was fifty-four but it was close to a hundred after I gave up recording them) but I also applied to teaching jobs and went to many interviews, thinking that it was OK with God. After all, if He didn't open the door for ministry, then it must mean it was OK to keep teaching. I got my teaching credential to a State near where my son lives and applied there too. I was tired of sending resumes and filling applications. I had had two interviews. One went on for a year and nothing happened. Then a third one came really fast at me and at the last minute it dissolved in a way I could not explain but left me disillusioned with believers treatment of other believers. But God answered my prayer. Ten months later, God opened a possibility for ministry which I almost didn't take. Two months after I applied for this position I received the first email, then the first interviews. I doubted. This was another "teaser" as I called them. But then things moved forward. Though I wanted to serve the Lord, I realized that I had to pray and let God lead. It was even hard to let my thoughts submit to His Lordship. My job was to trust Him and let Him lead the way. He did. He answered after three years of praying. Now it is clear to me. This was His will. Looking back, there is no way I could have done this. This is the wisdom of God. This was His timing.
When I try things on my own, relying on my wisdom, I fail. When I do things in my time, I fail.
God answers prayer. He answers in His time. Our duty is to submit to His will and wait for his leading. As He starts to lead, we act relying on Him, seeking only His will. We place our lives as a living sacrifice for Him, willing to do as He pleases. As Jesus submitted to the Father in the Garden so should we.