Saturday, May 1, 2010

What to pray for

What am I supposed to be praying for? What am I supposed to be trusting God for?

I read a really convicting quote in the last chapter of Crazy Love.
"We try to set our lives up so everything will be fine even if God doesn't come through." 

It's true for me.

Right now, my family can help support me financially, but I feel like they shouldn't have to. I feel like I must find a Job that pays a living wage somehow, even though I'm not qualified because of my disability, even if I have to fudge truth about my capabilities or take a Job that will cause me too much physical pain because if I don't, I'll just keep failing more and more financially until I have to declare bankruptcy. I want to get a Job, so I don't have to rely on their help, so they don't have to sacrifice for me anymore. Whenever my situation hits me hard, I find myself praying for that magical Job that will make things right.

Sometimes I feel like those prayers to God for that magical Job situation are my trust in Him. They are certainly my parents'. "God will provide a Job," they say, "you just have to keep trying." This makes me feel like if the Job doesn't materialize, it's my fault for not trusting enough or something, for not doing the right things.

Other times, I feel like this insistence we seem to have that God owes us a good job or prosperity of any kind is foolish and arrogant. God does not exist to make me happy and comfortable. God does not have to provide me with a miraculous Job in order to stay God or win my favor and trust. At least, it shouldn't be that way. People who believe in Him are starving to death, being tortured, and dying for Him, and they don't feel that He owes them anything more. So I feel guilty when I pray specifically for the Job, like I'm saying, if you just give me this thing, then I can take care of the rest.

It's messed up.

I don't think I can ever go back to that place of worry-freeease and comfort, if I was ever there in the first place. I've never really been in it, now that I think about it. My mom was deathly ill. My Dad lost his job when I was a kid. I struggled to get out of college debt-free; I was always concerned about there not being enough money. It's not like this is new to me. I have always had to rely on "things working out" in order to stay afloat financially. I feel like I already learned that lesson. But if the job never materializes, does it mean I haven't learned the lesson right (or the right lesson)?

What this crappy, painful, out-of-control situation (that started with my injury at work and subsequent dumping by the responsible party [US government] and currently disabling chronic pain and basic unemployability) has made me do is rely on God to get me through the day, every day. From the hauling myself out of bed exhausted every morning to the crawling back in and all the sleeplessness therein, the Lord's name is to be praised. Not very chipper and poetic, as Psalms go, but maybe I can make it work.

I don't think that I will forget this reliance on God just because I get a great job with health insurance and a competent, reasonable boss who appreciates my work and gives me great performance reviews. I don't think I will forget that it is in Him that I live and move and have my being if the pain goes away. I think this lesson is part of me, ingrained in me forever.

But if getting these things would make this understanding go away, then I have to pray that God won't give me those things. (This is why you shouldn't pray dangerous prayers, like, "God, bring me closer to You no matter what," unless you really understand what they entail. :)

So what am I supposed to be praying for again? I feel like my standard, "helpmehelpmehelpme" or "pleasegetmeoutofthis" aren't specific and personal enough. Any suggestions?


  1. Do you remember my friend Amy? The energetic one with the yellow glasses? I wish somehow that you could meet her mother. She's been sick and in pain and unemployed since forever, and relies on public assistance and family for most of her needs. I feel like you and she would understand each other well . . .

  2. For what it's worth, lately my prayers have gone something along the lines of "Just bless us, and let us be open to the blessings (even if we don't like the way they look)."