I put the phone down and lightly banged my fist against my head. My wife and I were newly married and I was up for a new job that would mean more money and, if we pinched our pennies right, could help speed up our bid to buy our first home. Unfortunately, though, the newspaper editor had decided to go in a different direction, selecting another writer for the open position.
I stared straight ahead, numb with disappointment. I gave my wife the news and went out for a walk. I had been praying to God for weeks to help with the new job. It seemed like a sure thing. The hiring manager liked me, he had raved about my newspaper clips, and I had gotten along with everyone who I had met in my two lengthy interviews.
On my short walk through town, I cursed God for my bad luck and for failing to deliver on “my job.” I felt like the magic carpet had been pulled out from underneath me. I felt rejected and that I had been set up for failure. I wondered why God would play such a nasty trick on me.
Of course, a few months later, I applied for an altogether different role and, this time, I got the “yes” that I had been searching. My prayers were answered, just not the way I had expected or could have ever imagined.
The mystery of life
Life has a way of working that way.
We pray for Door Number One. It could be for anything. We put our hopes and dreams into the prayer. We think it will solve our problems. We’re convinced that it will make us happy and lead to a rewarding life, but something happens along the way. Instead, we get Door Number Two. We’re shocked, we’re disappointed, but over time we find that, it might not be what we expected, but in the end, it’s often times better for us.
When I look back on my life, I find that the journey has been filled with unanswered prayers, more often then answered ones. I wanted one thing, God had something else in mind.
Example number one: I initially planned to go to a college hundreds of miles away from where I lived. God had a different idea in mind. Example number two: I hated the idea of moving back to my small hometown after college to work at the local newspaper. I dreaded the thought. In the end it was the best thing that could have happened.
I prayed and prayed for various jobs, good health, different life challenges, or even a particular event over the years. God, though, has worked from a different plan and certainly a different time schedule.
Bigger and Better
Despite it all, I still find myself returning to prayer. When something I’m praying for doesn’t happen, I find that I deal with it better now.
I view it less as God rejecting me or my needs and instead redirecting me to something better, something with more purpose. Hopefully I’m getting wiser in my old age, instead of checking off some list in my wish list in my head and instead being present in the moment and excited to see what the future is going to hold.
If nothing else, I hope God looks down on me and finds my craziness amusing. Oh, the power of unanswered prayers.