A while ago I wrote a post on answered prayer and how God had seemingly answered three prayers I had with a resounding yes. (link HERE) But in the past week, I have had three prayers decidedly answered as no. Nope. Absolutely not.
Yesterday, in passing, a friend and I brought up the game of Twenty Questions and I had immediate memories of my grandpa playing this game with us. My grandpa loved word games and he was the KING of that game. Since my brother and I spent weeks with my grandparents in northern Wisconsin during the summer, we seemed to play it a lot while driving into town for breakfast. Except grandpa would choose such words as love or a kiss or sadness as his words. Which is totally not fair to do in that game, no, but when you’re with your grandpa at his house – well, Grandpa rules are in play.
Truth is, sometimes I feel like I’m playing Twenty Questions with God – “Is it green?” “Is it something as big as my car?”
Except this game with God is a little more like: “Is it something I can handle?” “Is it something I’m doing wrong?” “So it’s not this direction, then?” “Is it bigger than me?” “Why is this happening?” “What can I do about it?” or “Why is everyone else getting what they want? What can I do to get what I want?” (I never said they were all attractive questions…)
Never quite sure of the answer He’s going for, I try to get Him to up the rules to at least twenty-FIVE questions so I have time for my puny little human brain to catch on to what He is saying.
I get frustrated. Or, in my case, I tell my husband, these answers make me feel like I’m in a box and I’m feeling very claustrophobic. In my typical me-fashion, I rebel and get just a little feisty pushing for what I want to be the answer. And, in my worst moments, I get downright mean in some of the things I say about certain other people or things who make life so unfair or wrong – I’ve done everything right…. ad infinitum.
But then I realized my whole week was a bit of a disaster because I was focused on me, me, me and what I wanted. I got tired of fighting against what were clearly not things I get to decide. I thought God’s answer was no because I was looking at the situation as a tangible Animal, Vegetable, Mineral.
So I stopped asking questions. I forfeited my turn.
I admitted my frustrations to my husband and apologized for being whiny about certain situations.
I admitted being overwhelmed in not understanding bigger issues we face as a whole and not knowing if I could handle attempting to process any of it.
I read the Bible.
I wrote down names of five friends who shared difficult things with me this week and prayed over their names and their situations and wrote down something beside each of their names that I could do to help.
I prayed over bigger and smaller situations – both personal and larger national and world issues going on.
Doing these things helped me disengage from my self-focus and feelings of claustrophobia. Because now I had managed to climb out of that feeling of being in a box and was able to look at the issues more objectively and look at the people around me more objectively as well. I realized His answer was actually not a straight up NO, it was more of a realization that my questions were focused on the tangible and the here-and-now. I was focused on what I could handle and hold and “is it cold?” when He has so much more in mind.
God doesn’t play games, and I also realize there are nuances to the situations we face – my intent is not to treat heavy, heavy issues lightly at all – please understand my context.
I also don’t mean to suggest that God’s the one hiding answers from me in a teasing way or making up Grandpa’s House rules, but I also know in my humanity this won’t be the last time I ask Twenty Questions of Him.
And I know He will answer, I have told you, O Kelli!, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8