When You Get what You Prayed for

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Daniel Swanson Photography

About a week ago, I got an amazing job.

This job promises to develop my strengths – writing and learning – while addressing my weaknesses (worrying and accepting criticism). It affirms my Christian values and surrounds me with strong, like-minded people. Furthermore, it came right when I needed it.

As of last month, my husband and I were approaching an uncertain financial future. Although I enjoyed my job at the coffeeshop, I wasn’t contributing much to our monthly bills. Meanwhile, he was crumbling beneath the strain of 3+ jobs. Something had to give. It occurred to me (last minute, as usual) to pray for a higher-paying job. A week or two later, I got the interview.

God doesn’t always work quickly, but when He does, it’s hard to miss the message. When my interviewer told me over the phone, “We’d like you to work for us,” I responded before he could take a breath: “Yes, I accept.” I would have been a fool to refuse.

But I wasn’t excited.

I didn’t hang up the phone doing a happy dance; I didn’t give anyone a hug. Instead, I prayed for courage before calling my old boss to give notice. I sent Facebook messages trying to get shifts covered and started cancelling plans that conflicted with my new work schedule. I shared the news with the necessary people (my husband, my mom, my girlfriends) and absorbed their congratulations perfunctorily, breathing deeply to combat the tightness in my stomach.

You see, change – even good change – is scary. Even when I clearly see God at work; even when I anticipate myriad practical benefits; even when I receive exactly what I asked for, I get nervous.

Evan and Marie - HQ-7742
Daniel Swanson Photography
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Daniel Swanson Photography

My mother, who knows me better than most, guessed how I was feeling. “Marie,” she told me, “you can trust God because this is what He has for you.” I replied that I did trust Him. I knew perfectly well that this job was part of His plan.

In a rational sense, I don’t have a problem trusting God. His active presence is the axiom to my theological proofs. (See, Mom? I retained something from geometry.) I do, however, struggle to embrace challenges with exuberant faith.

My laptop’s built-in dictionary defines trust as the “acceptance of the truth of a statement.” According to that definition, trust could happen at the cognitive level without extending to the gut: “Yes, Lord, I believe you – but will it hurt?” True faith, by contrast, reacts with joy to whatever future awaits. It takes a person of real courage to say with confidence, “I know Your plans are worth the pain. Bring it on, Lord.”

True faith reacts with joy to whatever future awaits.

Two days ago, my new job flew me to Philadelphia. I stayed in a hotel where the cleaning staff left chocolates on my pillows; I dined for free at three different restaurants; I attended a lecture on How to Listen; I filled an entire notebook with tips on effective communication. I even enjoyed it. Still, my primary emotion regarding the home trip was nervousness: what would the company expect from me when I returned? Could I really apply what I had learned?

My prayer for the upcoming months is that I would enter wholeheartedly into the work God has given me. While there is plenty of room in God’s kingdom for hesitant believers, I’d rather not remain one of them. Join me if you like.

Love,

The Reluctant Bride

Evan and Marie - HQ-4739
Daniel Swanson Photography
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