Even spiritual novices know not to pray for patience. It’s not like God just doles that stuff out in chic, reusable shopping bags. You have to learn actual lessons, and you have to practice patience. It is not pleasant.
Neither, however, is praying for a topic for a newspaper column.
Most of the time, I have column ideas lined up for at least a few months. But occasionally, an interview falls through or life gets busy and I find myself scrambling a bit as my deadline draws near. And that’s what happened this week, so – without thinking of the consequences – I prayed for help with the column.
In a matter of minutes, God began to answer my prayer.
First, my husband had trouble getting the biscuits to release from the cookie sheet and declared that all of our biscuits would be without bottoms for dinner. My usually easy-going 3-year-old was adamant that he needed a top and a bottom.
As I buttered a portion of biscuit for him I explained for the second and third time what had happened, and how all of us were only eating tops at this time. He began to lose his grip on reality. The tears came. The voice cracked and a complete melt-down was eminent.
Finally, I offered him two tops that he could put together in sandwich fashion, which worked for about 30 seconds until he pushed them together and one of them cracked, making it no longer appealing to him.
By this time, we were about 10 minutes into dinner and I was thinking about crying myself. Why can’t he understand that he has what he wants right there on his plate? I’ve already given it to him. Sure, the biscuit looks different than what he expected, but it tastes just as good.
Then it hit me: How often do I do that to God? Do I refuse the good things he’s offering me – or not even notice his gifts – because I think I know what I want and what it looks like?
“I may be partly responsible for this,” I told my battle-weary husband as we started to clear the dinner plates. “I prayed for inspiration for a column.”
He rolled his eyes. I should have known better.