I wanted the job. I wanted it badly. And a few weeks after making it to the final round of interviews, I learned that I had just missed the cut.
I called my friend Shon to share the bad news.
“Is the door totally shut?” he asked.
“They only hire seasonally, and this was pretty much my one shot,” I said. “So basically, God will have to do it if it’s going to happen.”
“Would you want it any other way?” he asked.
I paused, looked down, smiled to myself and said, “I suppose I wouldn’t.”
That was several years ago, and as God would have it, I did end up getting that job through an unexpected chain of events. Since then, I’ve had many other opportunities to wait for God to meet my needs. Sometimes it was other jobs I wanted, or a wife, healing from chronic illness or His intervention in the lives of others. I’m still asking for some of those things today. But when I plead for divine intervention, it’s usually because God is the only one who can pull it off. Otherwise, I would just take care of it myself.
Unfortunately, the real answer to Shon’s question, “Would you want [your miracle] any other way?” is often, “Absolutely.” I want it my way.
I want to be the answer to my own prayer. I want to make things happen and then say God did it. I don’t, however, want to humble myself before an invisible God whose silence feels like an insult. And quite frankly, I don’t want a miracle if getting a miracle means having to wait for God to provide what I want.
I used to see this very same kind of selfish desperation in my toddlers. They wanted their toy now; they wanted a snack now; they wanted to watch TV now. But in those moments, my top priority as a father was not giving them what they wanted. It was teaching them to wait, because otherwise, I would be raising them to be entitled little monsters.
God is not raising you and me to be monsters. He’s raising us to be conformed to the image of His Son, the One who “learned obedience through what He suffered” — not by the miracles He performed or the prayers His Father answered (Hebrews 5:7-8, ESV).
So as much as it hurts, I’m learning to appreciate the moments when I’m in desperate need and the only way I’m going to get a miracle is if God provides. And as I wait, I pray God will give me the grace to stop demanding my way, start looking to Him to meet the need, and then be okay when the answer is “no” or “not yet.”