What are you supposed to do if you pray for something and God says no? What you asked for is something totally cool and acceptable, but for some reason God just says no. Now, I can't claim that God has ever verbally spoken to me, but I do know when he is pulling my heart one way or another. In this case he is pulling my heart away from what I want, and I don’t know why…
It started the other day when I was asking God if he thought it would be alright for me to invest a significant amount of money into a new coffee pot. I know you may think that’s a funny thing to pray for, but I like talking to God, and I choose to error on the side of asking for too much advice as opposed to not enough.
Now, a coffee pot does not seem like it would be a big deal. It’s not going to bring me harm, and I don’t see it weakening my relationship with God (If anything it would help me wake up in the mornings to spend more time in the Bible). However, for some reason, I just knew that I wasn’t supposed to buy the coffee pot. I can’t offer any rational explanation as to why this would be a bad investment, but I could feel God pulling on me and telling me not to go forward.
So, I decided that maybe I just hadn’t prayed hard enough the first time. I thought, “I know! If I keep praying and asking God about this, he’ll probably see how much it means to me and change his mind.” Seems fair. Not only did I start praying about it more, but I also started flirting with the coffee pot whenever I could. I would stop by the store just to look at it, and I asked for free samples just to get a little taste. All the while justifying this by saying that I hadn’t invested and therefore was still acting according to God’s will.
It was as if I had prayed to God and asked if it was alright for me to play hop scotch in the middle of I-35. After thinking about it, I could feel God saying that that probably wasn’t the best idea, so I went to the shoulder of the highway and started playing. I hadn’t disobeyed God, and I hadn’t been hit by a car yet so everything was exactly the way God wanted it right?
Well, I don’t think that’s how God works. 2 Corinthians 10:5-6 says, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”
The Bible says we need to take “EVERY thought captive to OBEY Christ.” What I was doing was taking SOME of my thoughts and TOLERATING what I knew God had told me to do. That’s living a life that is half-committed to Christ. Or, better yet, a life that is fully committed to Christ, but only when what Christ says supports what I want.
This story is as much advice to anyone reads it as it is to me. I still really want to buy the coffee pot. I’m not sitting here saying, “look at how I’m obeying God, and try to do the same.” I’m saying, “this is something that is really hard for me to do, and here is my best attempt to work through it.” I hope you can see my heart in this and know that I am trying to figure out what God’s will is just as much as the next guy (or girl). It’s a journey that is very often bittersweet. The bitterness being in how bad my coffee tastes right now and the sweetness being in how satisfying it is to know that obedience to God is always the right choice.