I’m sure I’ve talked about this before and I’m positive I’ll revisit this subject many times but I wanted to share with you my experiences of how I have prayed and received God’s answers.
Deals with God
I’m not sure what the Bible says about making deals with God. I haven’t read the entire Thing yet, although I’m working on it, slowly but surely. All I know for certain about making deals with Him is that He has come through for me, perhaps not every time, but a lot of the time, when it’s something I truly needed and I made a great offer.
When I was 14, I questioned his existence. I wasn’t sure he was real. Many tragedies had ripped through my young life and everything that had happened to me forced me to question everything about God, love/protection/safety and life in general.
My best friend (a very wild girl with terrible parents who didn’t give a rat’s ass about her) ran away and I was to go with her but a series of events transpired during this crazy day that caused me to stay. She took off. I felt surely she’d call to let me know she was okay, she’d found somewhere to stay, she was safe, but perhaps she was angry with me for not being able to go, although she was there when the events took place and probably understood why I couldn’t.
I was so terrified for her. She was the kind of girl with a wild boy-crazy in-your-face sort of personality; the type of girl that would get picked up by a carload of guys and get…well…you know. So, I feared greatly for her life and her protection. I prayed for really the first time in my life.
Oh sure, I’d talked to God before, as I prayed for a daughter since I was a toddler but it was a bit different sort of prayer. I guess when you are little, you maybe have a stronger innocent connection to God, because it hasn’t been that long since you’ve seen him, so your trust in him has not been trampled on yet.
My prayer on this particular evening was a prayer in tears and in fear and hope and not so much rudeness but just more of being authentic in my prayer. It was a short conversation in my room. I don’t recall if I was laying in bed or kneeling or sitting down and it doesn’t really matter. What matters is your words and how you use them, how you are feeling in your heart. It’s about speaking in truth — your truth. I made a deal with him. I guess I sort of gave him an ultimatum, which probably wasn’t the best way to handle it.
I pretty much said, “God, if you’re real, now is your time to prove it. I’ve never really asked you for anything. If you want me to believe in you, please do this one thing. Please just keep (we’ll call her:) Stacy safe. Protect her. Let no harm come to her and I will never question your existence again. Do this one thing.” I don’t remember if I ended it with “in Jesus’ name” or if I said “Amen,” as I didn’t really have much experience with prayer. I simply told him what I needed to believe in him.
Well, it seemed like days passed and maybe they did. It was a few years ago so I don’t recall how long it took. For all I know, it could have been the next day. To a 14 year old, I’m sure it seemed longer than it actually was.
So, on this other day, the phone rang. Mama answered and she hollered, “Carol, it’s Stacy!” Not that she needed to holler, mind you, as I was listening at the doorway of my bedroom.
“Stacy?! Are you okay? Where are you?”
“I’m okay. I’m with these new friends.”
Om, of course hearing that scared the crap out of me. New friends? What new friends?! A bunch of guys, like I feared?!
She continued, “So I was walking along the highway with my stuff, right?”
“And this car started to slow down and pulled over a little ways in front of me. A man got out and started coming toward me. He asked me if I needed a ride and I told him I had run away.”
“Oh my gosh! Seriously? You told him you ran away?!”
“Yeah. He asked if I needed a place to stay. He said he was a preacher and that I was welcome to stay with him and his wife.”
“Oh, I’ll bet he did! You didn’t really trust him, did you?”
“I looked at the car and there was a lady in the front seat so I felt like he was telling the truth. He seemed like a nice man.”
“Oh, Stacy! You didn’t know those people! You got in the car? Seriously?! Are you at their house?”
“Yeah. Carol, they’re really nice people. He really is a preacher and he made me promise as soon as we got to their house, I had to call my parents to let them know I’m safe and then I can stay with them as long as I need to. That was the deal.”
There’s more to this story but you get the gist. Anyone could have stopped and picked her up and I’m 95% sure she would’ve gone with them. But it was a preacher and his wife. That’s no coincidence. I used to believe in coincidence. I know now that every single thing happens with a reason behind it or a reason in front of it or both.
I was a very hard-headed, stubborn, dense teenage girl and God showed me loud and clear and ever so brightly that he is real. He protected her and he brought her home again, safely, by none other than a man of God and his wife. He couldn’t have answered better.
Maybe he answered because I prayed for the safety of someone else. Maybe he answered because I needed to believe in him. Maybe he was protecting her anyway and it wasn’t even about me and my prayer. Maybe he answered because he’s good and he could kill two birds with one stone. Maybe I shouldn’t question why he answered and just be thankful he did.