So many of my motherhood prayers are about getting over my problems. "Help me train this child out of this behavior." "Help this baby sleep all night!" "Help them recover from this illness quickly." I want to get out of or over my problems. But I'm learning that problems are meant to be worked through. Maybe my prayers are supposed to be about getting through my problems and learning from them. Not necessarily being “better” when they are finished but being more like Jesus. More like Christ because of the patience needed to help this child in this difficult area. More like Christ from leaning on Him when I lack sleep. More like Christ because my child has a rare disease.
Perhaps God’s goal isn’t to relieve all my problems. Maybe it’s to use my problems to shape my heart, to tuck me in close to Him and help me to learn Him. Instead of taking my problems away He wants to carry them for me.
We want life to be easy. Life isn’t supposed to be easy; it’s supposed to be effective. Effective at showing me my sin and changing my outlook. Effective at removing the things that hold me back from service or teaching me to persevere through problems. We hardly learn that from getting over our problems, do we? We don't learn from ease; we learn from hardship.
Think about Joseph for a few minutes. He is one of my favorite Bible characters. He prospered wherever he was because he stayed close to God. He was a slave; he was a prisoner; he was the second-in-command in Egypt. What he did or where he was didn't matter. He just served God. God didn’t take away his problems. He did take him through them and prepared him for the work ahead.
What about Moses? Did you know when God sent Moses to Pharaoh Moses knew that Pharaoh wouldn’t listen to him? God used the resistance of Pharaoh (and the corresponding trial of Moses) to show His power. Moses was taken through problems instead of out of them his whole life.
And Mary? The mother that all Jewish girls wanted to be? Scorned by society, gossiped about, judged- that was just how it was. There was no changing it. She had to carry that her whole life all because she was the type of woman God would chose to bear the Messiah.
It’s easy in the frustration of the moment to cry out “help this child get it!” There’s probably not anything wrong with that. We do, after all, want the child to “get it.” But maybe deeper than that there should be a desire in our hearts to be changed. “Use this in my life and in this child’s life to help us see you. To help us become more like you. To draw us closer together.”
It’s easy to feel frustrated in our prayers. It’s not because God isn’t listening. It’s because our desired outcome is different than His. He’s changing us to be like Jesus. We just want to be comfortable. Transformation is rarely comfortable or easy but it is desirable.