Several years ago, I was at a retreat where a woman was brought up to give us her testimony. She had spent years in inner city schools but her testimony was that it was all due to a single decision, to remain single. It seems that she had dated as a young adult and not finding anyone to suit her, had prayed about it. She finally came to the place where she told God, she wanted whatever He had for her and if it meant remaining single, then she was fine with that. She encouraged all of us specifically to pray in a similar manner, to accept whatever God had for us.
I was struck by the fact that her testimony was largely the opposite of mine. Never let it be said that God does not have a sense of humor. When I was nearly to the end of my college experience, there was a point when God asked me, “What do you want?” I thought about it some, but felt the safest course was to answer in much the same way the other woman did, that I wanted whatever He wanted for me. Soon I was out of school, looking for work and very confused about my direction. I was also interested in men, but finding the pickings pretty thin.
I worked for a family member for a short time, then took lousy temporary jobs for a while. I thought I wanted a challenging and rewarding career, but ended up in a dead end job. I also spent a lot of time dealing with the fallout from a relationship, that I knew from the beginning was wrong for me. I only got involved because there seemed to be no one else who got my attention.
After I turned 30 I did some real soul searching, which led eventually to my giving God a list of what I’d like in a man. In a way it was like coming full circle, because as I see it now, it took that long for me to be willing to ask for what I actually wanted, and that was God’s issue with me. Though I loved Him and wanted to be a good Christian, I really did not trust Him enough to be honest about my desires. It was rooted, of course in my experiences growing up in a large family with never enough money, where we learned that if we wanted something, we’d better be able to find a way to get it for ourselves, because asking would be met with no, in one form or another.
But God has no lack of resources, though in my case, and perhaps others, I wasn’t getting what I needed or wanted because, like the older brother in the prodigal son story, I never asked. As someone pointed out about that story, it is really about a father whose love seems to have no bounds. And both children didn’t get it. Neither one of them knew who they were dealing with, and how much He wanted to give them.
So the lesson I learned is to get really honest with God. He gave me the man I requested, which completely blew my mind. I couldn’t find such a person, no matter how many tips and techniques I tried. I asked God and He was like, no problem, I’ve been wondering when you would finally ask me. And ever since, it seems like life is about learning to trust our prodigal God.