Have you ever prayed for something constantly, knowing that if God would just make your will happen, life would get much better and you would be happy, only to be told no? Why would God do that?
Although I've been to church all my life, my faith has gone through many different phases. I've had periods of my life were I didn't believe in God, kinda believed in God, really believed in God but didn't trust Him...and now I feel like I'm entering the phase of trusting and believing in Him, although I think it's more of a "learned helplessness" thing. :0) See, God has continually "beaten" me on my head saying, "You are not in control, child!! I Am. Listen to Me. Do as I say." But if you know me, you know I am head-strong and a bit of a control freak (but just a bit haha). I know what is best for my life, so God should do what I tell him to do. Because that is what matters. Me! Ahem, no.
So many of us, in my opinion, have a vast misunderstanding of God. We pray for God to grant our will because that is what we want and we know what is best for us. Because God wants us to be happy. Right? Jesus' final words were "Go preach the gospel to everyone and live as I tell you to and you will be happy and everything you want for your life will be granted as long as you follow me." Right? Isn't that was it says at the end of Matthew. Ahem....no.
It says: Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. HCSB
Jesus says He will be with us. He doesn't say, ever, life will be easy. We see numerous examples in Acts, Paul's, and the Apostles' letters that life is anything but easy. Paul was ship-wrecked, beaten, stoned, and eventually killed for following Christ! I don't know about you, but if I were being beaten my first thought would be, "Maybe God wants me somewhere else." Isn't that our nature? When life gets hard, we want to leave. Because God wants us to be happy, so if we aren't happy, clearly we are in the wrong place or with the wrong people or doing the wrong thing. Sometimes yes, but sometimes no.
God wants us to bring souls to Christ. Sometimes in doing that, life is pleasant and happy, sometimes it's not. Because God doesn't necessarily want us to be happy. That's not His goal. God wants us to be content. That is the number one thing I have learned thus far. Missy from It's Almost Naptime wrote an amazing post about being content, among other things, here. I really encourage you to read it.
God wants us to live for Him and be content with what we have, not lusting after this or that, just being "happy" where we are. Let me say, I do not think there is anything wrong with being happy. If you are, great! I don't think that means you aren't living for God. I'm just saying we need to re-evaluate our lives and our prayer lives. I don't think it's wrong to ask God for things, but before you ask, think about why you are asking. And if the answer is no, we need to accept that it's His will. Even if life would be much easier if the answer would have been yes, we need to realize and accept that God's will doesn't revolve around our happiness. It revolves around bringing souls to heaven.
God is not our personal genie. We are placed on this Earth to serve God and bring as many people to Christ as possible. This world is not our home, friends. We haven't even been there yet!! It's waiting for us when this life is through. If this life is good along the way, awesome. If it's not, awesome. The best life is waiting for the faithful. It's open to everyone if you just do His will.
I hope I see you all there.