“God has so many other issues to deal with,” we tell ourselves. We don’t mean to fall into the trap, but we hesitate to come to God with a concern or desire of our heart. We almost feel guilty, praying for something that pales in comparison to worse problems that exist. Wars rage across the globe, friends have car accidents, family members come down with disease, and yet we’re wondering which job to take or which relationship to pursue. “God doesn’t care about your problems,” the silent voice whispers.
But while we think we’re lessening the burden on God by giving Him one less prayer to juggle, we’ve put the same restraints on God that we’d put on any human being. We’ve created a god who’s hindered by the limitations of this world. We’ve created a god who doesn’t exist. We’ve turned the Lord into a jazzed up version of our local deli counter, only able to serve one person at a time. The “deli god” is working as fast as possible no doubt, but he’s shackled by the constraints of only having two hands. Only having so many slicers. Only having a single cash register. “I’ll get to your prayer in a minute, sir. Now serving #46.”
Because of this, we hold off on fully immersing ourselves in reaching out to the Lord. We tend to shy away from asking for His direction, despite His call to seek guidance in all aspects of our life (Matthew 7:7-8). We attempt to justify how we’re really doing God a favor by not bothering Him with our requests. “The deli god seems busy. I’ll come back later. That person has a huge order. God definitely needs to serve them first. I don’t want to waste his time with my small request. I’ll take a number and wait.”
But just because you think your problem is insignificant doesn’t mean it’s a waste of God’s time. We’re called to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), and God isn’t beholden to the confines of the lunch counter. He is able to serve all at once and serve perfectly.
Everyone has problems. Yours are just as important.
Years ago while catching up with a friend (an OB-GYN doctor) he asked about my life. I relayed the good and the struggles. “But I shouldn’t complain,” I half apologized. “People are going through much more difficult things than I am. My biggest concern is deciding which job to take or where I want to live.” And he got upset with me. He was kind about it, as he knew my intentions were pure, but he told me my line of thinking was wrong, and he explained why.
He told me of a time he sat down with a couple who had recently given birth to a child with special needs. They relayed the difficulties and troubles they were facing but countered, “Well, we shouldn’t complain; it’s not like we have a child with a life-threatening disease.” And just like my situation, my friend chastised them.
“Just because your problem isn’t supposedly as bad as someone else’s, doesn’t mean it’s not important to you,” he explained. “To you, your child is the most important thing on this earth. The worst problem in the world is the problem your baby is facing. That’s what makes them mean everything in the world to you. It’s not just a child, it’s your child, and it’s alright to think that way. It doesn’t make you selfish; it makes you a loving parent.”
In the same way, God is our loving parent who cares about every aspect of our life. Just because we’re not going through what we think is “the worst problem” doesn’t mean God thinks it’s any less important. He cares about His child’s concerns just like any earthly parent would. And besides, He’s healed the sick, walked on water and conquered death. Trust me; He can deal with more than one person’s problem at a time.
Right now someone reading this is going through a breakup or wondering how they’ll pay the rent after losing a job or facing the death of a loved one. And right now someone is “only” concerned about passing a college class or deciding if her current relationship is worth continuing.
But all these things are perfectly OK to pray about and seek God’s guidance on, even while at first glance someone else’s challenges may seem to take priority on God’s schedule. It’s alright to believe the problems you’re facing are just as important to you. Remember this because God tells us these problems are just as important to Him.
Copyright 2014 Steve Bierfeldt. All rights reserved.