Taking Philippians 4:6 to heart, I prayed. After all, Paul said, “in every situation (even when needing bunk beds), by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
“Dear Lord, we need bunk beds fairly soon and they have to be exactly the right bunk beds. Please consult my necessary dimensions and materials for more information. Thank you. Amen.”
Now with that prayer done, I began to keep an eye out for bunk beds. I drove past the local thrift store as often as possible to eye their new furniture inventory. Even though I’m not typically a yard saler, I shopped on Saturday mornings in other people’s yards, making awkward conversation with strangers about their stuff, in the chance I’d find a set. I joined local online groups where people sell their unwanted things and checked frequently for what I needed.
So when a pair of bunk beds showed up on one of those lists for under $100, I thought, “This is it, God! Thanks so much for answering my prayer!” I had the lady drive them by in her farm truck and unload them into my back yard. They were . . . well . . . okay. Wooden. Twin over twin. They weren’t amazing, but they were okay and they fit the baseline request I had made to God.
Then the mattresses came off the truck. Shoo! All of the Febreze I had in the house and some good time airing out in our backyard didn’t help them one bit. My husband stowed the mattresses in the garage until they could be hauled off to the dump. No way were they allowed in the house, he announced.
I was a bit disappointed with God’s provision, but resigned to deal with it. I mean—I asked for bunk beds and never really specified mattresses, so I was going to let Him off the hook on this one.
The next day a friend posted a message about having twin beds she’d be getting rid of in a few weeks.
Were they bunk beds? Yup. Wood? Uh huh. Right size? They sure were. I haven’t smelled the mattresses, but I’m pretty sure they’ve got the ones in my garage beat.
If I had waited one more day, I’d have a better gift available to me for free, but instead I settled for second best because I didn’t leave the whole matter in God’s hands. I prayed about it and then changed my whole lifestyle to help Him provide for me.
Because obviously the Almighty God who made the heavens and the earth needs my help looking for some bunk beds.
Zechariah struggled to believe God would answer his prayers, too. After many years of praying for a baby and never receiving one, Zechariah entered the temple to serve as priest before the Lord. There an angel showed up and Zechariah dropped the incense and hit the ground. “The angel said to him: ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard” (Luke 1:13).
Zechariah had been praying and God heard those heaven-directed pleas and answered him. Yet, when this incredible angel finished telling all about how Elizabeth would have a son named John who would go before the Messiah “in the spirit and power of Elijah,” Zechariah didn’t believe him.
Now, I confess I struggle with believing sometimes, but I’m pretty sure that if an angel miraculously appeared and promised me something, I’d likely have a smidgen of faith. I’m just saying.
But, Zechariah questioned the angel. It wasn’t the prophesy about John’s ministry that he doubted; he didn’t believe they could have a baby at all, despite praying all these years for one. He said, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years?” (Luke 1:18).
So, he had been praying without believing? Or praying up to a certain point when it still seemed possible, but now that he and his wife were old, he no longer believed God could do this work. Either way, what he lacked was prayer with faith.
How often do I pray for things and not really believe that God can do them? Or I pray and try to help Him out by suggesting my own answers to the problem? If I give something over into God’s hands, can’t I indeed trust Him with it? Or will I settle for the second best solutions I come up with in my own finite abilities?
James wrote: “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6). Are you ever a little seasick in your prayers? Ask. Try to make it happen on your own. Pray. Do things in your own effort. Make a request to God. Work things out on paper.
We rock back and forth, placing problems in His hand and snatching them back up just as quickly. This isn’t God’s intention for us. He intends blessing and we choose instead anxious fretting and frantic effort. How much better to jump off the ship and stand on the solid ground of faith, leaving in God’s hands all that we need?
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2011 Heather King