My Answered Prayers
Tuesday, October 18, 2011Tweet
Although I talk about faith a lot on here, I don't often talk about why I believe in God. And, in point of fact, the things I'm going to share with you here are not the reason I believe. I believe because my heart is full in God and I find joy through my faith. (Those might sound like abstract, rhetorical concepts, but they're actually more related to my day-to-day life.) The things here are more what stops me on the days I'm tempted to stop believing.
God doesn't answer all prayers -- I can go into that further in another post -- but He does answer some. And sometimes weird ones. Here are a few.
1) Probably my first real vivid memory of an answered prayer was when I was in middle school. I was supposed to go on vacation to a lake with my family for a week. I was scheduled to get my period the week of vacation, and at that point in time I had a very regular cycle, so it was pretty much guaranteed. I loathe tampons, as I've explained before, and I was beside myself praying I would get my period early. I did, a week and a half early. Only time in my life that's happened.
2) My junior year of high school I was feeling suffocated by my group of friends. I'd had the same group of friends since middle school, and we hung out in the morning, had classes together all day, and did the same extracurricular activities. There was no escaping the drama. I thought it was impossible for me to make new friends because I hadn't made any new friends in years, and I didn't even know how I would go about it.
Then in March, I met someone. He was a year older than me and we had math class together, and we became instant friends. (Of course, I made the mistake of trying to date him.) It wasn't until I was goiong through my old diary entries that I found my desperate, tearful prayers in February for a friend, any friend. I had completely forgotten, and here God had answered loud and clear.
3) The summer after high school, I was all set to go on a mission trip with a group from my church and another church. We had picked out which vans we'd be traveling in -- it was a two-day trip to get down there, if I remember correctly -- and I was set to be in a van with five or six other kids that I didn't know too well. The night before the trip I started to panic because I realized that I was going to be totally out of place and no one would talk to me the entire trip because they all knew each other and I get quiet in large groups. I was really starting to dread going, and wished that I'd volunteered to go in the supply van, where it would just be me and one other person the whole trip, but someone else had already volunteered.
The next morning when I got to the church, my youth minister came up and asked me if I would ride in the supply van. No mention of why the kid who volunteered wasn't doing it. Just asked if I would do it. I ended up getting along great with the woman driving the van, and the entire trip there and back was an absolute blast.
When I look back at these moments in my life that I consider to be answered prayers, what strikes me is that in each of these situations I felt the same way when I was praying. I felt completely and utterly powerless, like there was nothing I could do myself to change the situation. In each of these cases, I leaned 100% on God and put things entirely in His hands.
I know. Any of these could be coincidences. But these are just a few examples, and after reading about hundreds of answered prayers in books, in Guideposts, and on blogs, I've decided it would be stupid of me not to believe that prayers can be answered.
But I also think this is part of the reason that God doesn't just answer all prayers. We can't use answered or unanswered prayers as "proof" of God's existence or lack thereof, when all answered prayers could be coincidences anyway.
There's something else that grounds me in my faith, though, something that both quiets my doubts and scares me. Those are miracles.