“You are the answer to my prayers!’
This was the sentiment on the front of a greeting card I once came across. I still remember it years later, because upon opening the card the recipient was hit with this zinger:
“You’re not what I prayed for exactly, but apparently you’re the answer.”
Perhaps I can also still recall this particular card because it exposes a deeper reality, one that is often unsettling and confusing:
Sometimes God’s answers don’t exactly match our requests.
Can I get an Amen?
My latest experience with this has come through our recent quest for a puppy. In July I made an appointment with a local Shih Tzu breeder, hoping to find a female puppy in time for Laurel’s upcoming birthday. On the way there I prayed and asked God for wisdom and direction. Instead of choosing one of two available female puppies on site, I felt inexplicably drawn to a sweet expectant mama, “Katie,” who was due in mid-August. Believing this to be God’s leading, I nervously put down a deposit to secure the pick of the litter, and began praying that she would have at least one female pup.
We surprised Laurel on her birthday a couple of weeks later with a tiny pink polka-dot dog collar. She was thrilled and quite content to wait for her special puppy’s arrival. In the meantime she picked out a cute little girl’s name and prayed for her daily. (Can you see where this is going?)
Last week, the long-awaited call from the breeder finally came.
Only there was no ‘Her.’
Just a ‘Him.’
There were some tears. Disappointment. Confusion. A mini crisis of faith.
We went and met the little guy anyway. Took some pictures. Tried to adjust to the idea of having a boy instead of a girl. A restless night followed.
The next morning I noticed a change in Laurel’s countenance. She was now confident that this dog was God’s answer to her prayers. When I asked her to elaborate, she said, “Mom, I know God led you to choose Katie and that He wouldn’t mislead you. He knew all along that she wasn’t going to have a girl. So God gave me a boy instead.”
And that settled it.
I admire her faith. It’s the kind that says, “God, I trust Your heart and Your character, even when the outcome isn’t what I had hoped for. You are Good. You give good gifts. Therefore, I receive what You give as good.”
When I grow up, I want to be more like my daughter.
So, meet “Beau.” (Chris is just fine with that name, as long as Laurel agrees to have only one “beau” at a time. He is praying the dog will lead a long and healthy life.)
He’s not what we prayed for exactly.
But apparently ‘he’ is the answer!
“Indeed, the Lord will give what is good…” (Psalm 85:12a, NAS)
P.S. The pink collar has been exchanged for a sparkly silver one. He may be a boy, but this boy will have his bling!