For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)
We were sitting around in a circle sharing stories. This is a group that gets together every other week to talk about our journeys with God; sharing and encouraging each other. As each person took a turn to share their story, one woman shared an amazing answer to prayer. She had been struggling with a situation for a while and God finally answered. He finally showed up in a very powerful way.
I was really happy for her. She is my friend. But, there was a part of me that wondered why not me? Now, believe me, I know this is completely selfish. And I know that this is not an appropriate thought to have when your friend was blessed by an answer to prayer. I know I should stay quiet about the fact that I thought this….but, I think more of us think this kind of thing than we’d like to admit. So, shaking my head, I am admitting it.
That night as I laid in bed, I talked to God about it. First, I asked him to forgive me for thinking so selfishly but then I honestly asked him “Why? Why has it taken so long for you to answer my prayers?” Then, I felt inspired to tell him what prayers I would have him answer if I could choose anything at all. And to my surprise, as I lay there and thought about it, I didn’t ask for the things I thought I would. The things I had been focusing on that I thought I wanted answers to, those were not top of my list. I was whining about him not answering this one prayer but when asked to prioritize, that did not fall in the top five.
I went to sleep.
The next day as I talked some more with God about all this, I remembered. I remembered some amazing answered prayers that I’ve had in my recent past. There was an answer to prayer for a reconciliation that I was praying about for 15 years. There was the prayer that asked God to send someone so I could share Jesus. There was the reunion with my biological brothers. There are so many more and each one has been amazing.
Then I remembered what God says in his Word. “For I know the plans I have for you…..” Your plans are not everyone else’s plans and their plans are not for you. My plans for you are uniquely individual and the answers to prayer are the same.
All I could do was bow my head and rejoice in a God who loves me so individually and in a way that is uniquely me. He knew what my heart wanted even when I didn’t.