For a long time I have been praying, quite regularly, for the Lord to change my circumstances. Make my dog more obedient. Make my son interested in reading. Change how things are going at work. Change my relationship with my wife. Fix the broken car. After all, the God of creation, who loves me as His son, is certainly able to change my circumstances. And yours. Right?
I know the arguments. I know that we’re here to be tested and tried and mashed up and spit out better, more polished, and more god-like than when we went in to the test. But can’t the polishing include a couple of easy days? Even a lot of them?
At least that’s what I ask in the dark nights. Or the dark days. Where the sun goes down early, or never really comes up. Where it feels like the 9th Monday in a row. When I’m up at midnight unable to sleep for who knows what reason, or no reason at all. Or in those days where the kids just won’t be nice to each other, and manage to make a mess in every room of the house, even in my little home office. Or in the days when Rebecca and I disagree and fight. Especially on the days where I feel like giving up and hanging up the towel.
Lord, can’t you just change my circumstances, please? Then I’ll be happy, I PROMISE!
But I wake up in the morning, and I still have the same kids. I still have the same problems at work. The car is still needing $1500 of repairs. The dishwasher is still broken. Whatever the circumstances are that I’m complaining about, they don’t change much.
I’m sure you can relate.
Don’t get me wrong, the Lord occasionally changes my circumstances. Probably more than I notice. I’m sure I’m not aware of all of the blessings I receive. And if I took more time to count those blessings, naming them one by one like the song says, I think I really would be surprised at what the Lord has done.
But I don’t. Instead I ask for Him to change even more circumstances.
And I don’t like how it is going. It feels selfish. It feels self centered. It feels like I should be praying differently.
So lately, I’ve been trying a different tack. I’ve been making the same demands, but this time with a caveat.
Lord, help my daughters stop yelling at each other, and if you can’t do that, change their heart, but my heart too.
Father, it would be great if you could fix the dishwasher or help me figure it out, but if you can’t do that, then change my grumbling ungrateful heart.
Let me be kinder.
And more loving.
And it’s working.
Circumstances come and go. Life moves forward whether I like it or not. And what is bringing the most peace, the most understanding to my life is praying for Him to change my heart.
Sometimes I think He doesn’t know me. That somehow my inner thoughts evade his Jedi mind tricks. And then I remember, when I open up my soul in prayer, that He knows me. He knew all along what those secret thoughts were and He loves me anyway. He’s ready to gather me like a chicken gathers her chicks under her wing. His arm is stretched out still. He’s ready to change my heart.
He’s my Dad. He loves me.
And He loves you too.