I saw this on a friend’s Facebook page, and I liked it, so I’m borrowing it to share here:
1. In at least four ways God answers a Christian’s prayers…
a. Request granted
b. Request granted, but not yet
c. Request granted, but not as expected
d. Request denied
2. However God may choose to answer our prayers…
a. We can have confidence that it will be for our good
b. We should never grow weary in praying to God
Lately it feels like I’ve grown accustomed to the answer to prayers falling in categories 1b, 1c, or 1d above – not yet, not as expected, or just flat-out no. One particular area where it’s long felt like prayers were going unanswered concerned the possibility of a move back to my home state. If you count college, I haven’t lived near my family for going on 30 years. That’s a long, long time. Before my first husband and I divorced, we’d looked at the possibility of a move back home, and I’d actually had a couple of interviews. They seemed to go well, but none of them panned out. The answer to my prayers about moving home at that point was definitely a no.
Fast forward a few years. After the divorce, I really didn’t give a whole lot of conscious thought to moving back home, but I guess the idea never completely left my head. When I interviewed for my current job, imagine my surprise to find that one of the women I interviewed with was not only from my home state, but from a town about 10 or 12 miles away from the town I grew up in. Her parents had had my former in-laws as teachers when they were in school. Small, small world, yes? The work I was originally hired to do dealt with issues in my home state, and our firm has an office in my home state. Hmm.
Surprisingly, or not, the possibility of me moving to my home state to do my job came up. The first time, it was batted around a bit before the decision was made that no, the firm wasn’t going to relocate me and my job. I was probably most upset at that point, because when the possibility was mentioned, boy, did I get my hopes up. I was darn near convinced that that was the reason God had led me to this new job, to open a door so we could move. I was crushed when that prayer was clearly answered “no”, but what are you going to do? I was still very thankful for my job, and life went on.
The second time the possibility of me relocating was brought up, I tried not to get my hopes up as much. I prayed along these lines: “God, I sure hope you want me to move back home. But if not, then I guess I’ll deal with it. But oh, I really hope you do!” That time, the prayers barely had time to form in my heart and on my lips before word came down from the higher-ups that no, that definitely wasn’t an option. Again with the “no”, loud and clear. Or was it a “not yet”…?
I got promoted at work and took on new duties, but I continued to handle my old responsibilities until a new person could be hired in the office in my home state to take them over. In time, someone was hired. I was glad I’d be getting some things off my desk (because, really, trying to do two full-time jobs is a bit of a challenge), but a bit sad that I’d be losing those particular responsibilities. I’d turned out to be pretty darn good at what I was originally hired to do, and I was realizing that I really preferred those duties to the duties I’d taken on with my promotion. (Wonderful to be promoted, great that my bosses have confidence in my ability to handle responsibility, but I’ve realized through the experience that I don’t necessarily care to be a manager for the duration of my career. I’m just not really wired that way.) So, I did my best to train our new person to take over the best part (to me) of my job, and I was a little sad about it, but I reckoned that if that was where God wanted me, He had His reasons.
Then things started to happen. It turned out that the person hired to take over my old position either didn’t particularly want the job, wasn’t particularly competent to do the job, or maybe both, because things just did.not.get.done. Not just once or twice, but regularly, and not just small, fairly insignificant mistakes, but errors that resulted in work having to be redone because it was done incorrectly. And the woman I’d interviewed with, the one from my neck of the woods back home, decided that I just needed to be there in my home state, working with her, doing what I was originally hired to do, because I did a pretty handy job at it, where someone who was supposedly hired for her experience in the field did not.
Long story short, this time the answer to my prayer to move back home appears to be “yes”. The person hired to take over my old job found something else, turned in her notice, and walked out one day a couple of months ago – not expected, but not really a surprise, if that makes sense. And the decision was made that, if I wanted it, my old position was mine again, with relocation to my home state. Did I want it?! Of course I did! I found out just recently that someone has accepted an offer for the position I was promoted to, which is good because 1) it means that person can now come in and be trained in that position and take some of the stuff I’ve got on my desk, off my desk, and 2) it makes it that much more likely that yes, the move is REALLY going to happen. And hopefully soon this will all be officially official at work, because not sharing the news with my friends is just about to do me in!
So. Wow. I’ve gotten so used to the answer to prayer on really major things being “no” or “not now” that I’m really sort of at loose ends as to what to do when the answer is “yes”! The logistics are a bit overwhelming – new job for Brian, new school for Thing One, new daycare/preschool for Thing Two, new church home. I’m not sure how the finances will work out to cover all the expenses with moving (utility deposits, cost of renting a moving truck, new house expenses, all the odds and ends you’ve got to pay for when you move), as our finances are often stretched to what feels like the breaking point now, but I’ve got to trust that God has that all under control. I remind myself often that if this is truly what He has in store for us, the details will work out. God isn’t going to open this door and then leave us hanging on the whys and hows and wherefores of getting us there.
What to do when the answer is “yes”? Say THANK YOU with a grateful heart and keep on going and keep on trusting! And load up on packing tape and boxes, because we’re going to need a lot.