I have always had a hard time with my prayer life. Prayer has been a very easy way for the enemy to swiftly attack me. I remember a conversation with my mom years ago where I asked her, “Why do we have to pray? If God is all-knowing, then why waste our time praying when He already knows what we’re going to ask for?” This thought pattern has culminated into not only a lousy prayer life, but also a real doubt of whether it’s prayers that are being answered verses coincidences randomly happening.
I’ve become very pessimistic, and I rarely see the point to spending real quality time in prayer. I see good things happen, and I push the thought off, “well, that makes sense that this would happen because of this or that.” Or, “well, we just happened to be in the same place at the same time. That happens.” This has led to a deep confusion: what is of the Lord and what is coincidence? Naturally, this gives me an out while I watch other people prosper and my mother decline. I think, “Some people simply were dealt better hand than we were; it happens. Life is just hard for us right now and we have to make the best of it.” I seem to be stuck, stubborn and reluctant to believe that the Lord provides good things. Over the past week, I’ve battled with these thoughts, and I can’t shake them. I want to believe the Lord answers prayers, but how can we know if it’s an answered prayer or if it’s just being in the right place at the right time?
Then yesterday, I ran to Food Lion for one specific thing and also grabbed some produce. I did the self-checkout thing and a lady bagged the groceries for me. When I paid I grabbed the bag and left. I got into my car and was pulling out of my space and the grocery-bagger lady was running straight for me with a small bag in her hand. The one item I had gone in there for, I had left behind; she had put it in a separate bag. She came running straight to me as if she knew exactly which car was mine.
In that instant I made a decision. It is either a blessing from the Lord, or it isn’t. I don’t get to pick and choose which good things come from the Lord. All good things are either from Him, or all good things are not from Him. This is where my faith, all my beliefs, everything I’ve been taught gets tested. Rubber meets the road.
So I decided, I have to believe that when the Bibles says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17), that it’s the truth.
Playing tag in the two wheelchairs with Morgan around the house is a blessing of grace over us during this time. Mom finishing all her chicken minis from Chick-Fil-A, is a perfect gift from the Lord. The lady racing out to my car wasn’t just because she was a nice person, it was a good gift from the Father. Laughing and playing trivia with my friends is a gift, it’s not just a coincidence that we all wanted to get together and play; it’s a blessing.
If I can really believe this, if I can really trust that the Lord is providing these things, then maybe my faith will grow and I can start to work on some of my trust issues I’ve wrestling through with Him. I have to believe He’s at work. Maybe I don’t like the way He’s working, but He is working. And while more things pile up, pressure continues to build and projects need to get done, He provides blessings.
So I’m changing my thought process. If something good happens, I’m gonna try to not dismiss it as a coincidence, but view it as a gift from the Lord.