“God answers all prayers. Sometimes He says ‘Yes’, sometimes He says ‘No’, and sometimes He says ‘You’ve got to be kidding…’”.
I have a mug with that saying on it, and it reminds me that God does have a sense of humor. I think of times in my life when I’ve prayed for help about something that could be considered trivial, but in my world, it was a mountain. And I have on occasion tried to imagine what God’s response would be. Would He say, “Why are you asking for that when there are so many more important things that you could ask for?” Or perhaps “Why is that the most important thing to you?” It’s a good thing that God is who He is, as He would need the patience of a saint to put up with my requests. God knows what we need and will provide it when we actually need it. Prayer is a conversation with Him, it helps us get to know Him better. Prayer deepens our relationship with God; we adore Him, we express contrition for our misdeeds, we give thanks for the gifts we received and we ask for assistance and graces.
But what about when God asks something of us? What is our response? For me there are times when the saying on the mug could just as easily be my response to God: You’ve got to be kidding! It reminds me of the parable of the two sons, where one responded ‘No’ but then went, while the other responded ‘Yes’ but did not go (Mt 21:28-31). Sometimes I think my response is, ‘God, I don’t want to do this, but You’re asking me and that’s the only reason I’m doing it.’ It’s easy to see this as an acceptable answer because at least we are doing His will. Looking at it from one perspective, yes, that is true. However, it rather falls short, like a child who stomps off to clean her room. Like any relationship, my relationship with God is a two-way street and I need to be open to God’s will, especially when He asks me to go outside of my comfort zone. It’s not easy, but His grace can see me through when I say ‘Yes’ joyfully. And isn’t His grace the greatest blessing of all?