When God answers someone else's prayers first
Have you heard the saying
“The things you take for granted are what someone else is praying for”
This is a powerful message, but what about when the roles are reversed? What do you do when God blesses someone else with the things you have been praying for; and then blesses them right in front of you?
How do you handle this?
I would like to say it is easy, but lets be real,
it’s not & I failed!
I was in Nicaragua hosting a mission team at World Missions Outreach. One of the team members that we were hosting came on a scouting trip for her church. Needless to say, I wanted to make a good impression & ensure she enjoyed her experience working with our ministry.
I thought she could be
the answer to all of our prayers.
She stayed by my side all week; constantly asking questions about our needs & about how her church could specifically help the mission. I felt like we were bonding & that I was able to share our vision & passion for the mission. I shared with her our extremely pressing needs - from our school funding to our solar panel projects. Together, would cut out $8,000 from our monthly expenses.
One of the things we discussed was how our students needed instruments for our school worship team. We have had the same instruments for 10 years and they were already used instruments when we originally got them. In reality, the instruments have taken a back seat to some more of our notable ‘priority’ needs. None the less, we even have instrument donation jars at the house.
On this trip we visited one of our feeding programs that is located at La Chureca. La Chureca is a city dump that hundreds of families live in. They survive by the materials they find in the mountains of trash. The families find anything they can use to eat or wear while they scavenge for recyclables to make money off of.
This place is the worst of the worst.
National Geographic named it one of the
'Ten Most Horrendous Places in the World".
It’s heart-wrenching & the things I have seen there are hard to ever erase out of your memory & often haunt my soul.
At the La Chureca program, the team played with the kids, listened to the Pastors heart for his church located inside La Church & connected with the people in the community. Half way through, the lady that I thought God had sent to answer all my prayers pertaining to the mission suddenly left me speechless, confused & heartbroken.
She asked me,
“How can I send instruments down with you to give to this church”.
I literally had to pause. I swear, time stopped for that moment.
It's hard to admit, but I felt like I had a knife stab my heart.
I had just spent all this time explaining to her about how our school needed instruments! Did she not hear me, did she not understand, did she not see how bad our instruments were, did she just not care?
My inner dialog with God was…
“She came here to La Chureca & just because it ‘looks really bad’, she decides this is more of a priority over our school?”.
I thought, how could she ask a question like that! I began to argue with God. I struggled with this bitterness that had consumed me over the situation for the rest of the program.
My face became hot with that numb burning sensation you get when you’re really mad. It consumed me & distracted me from being able to connect with anyone because I was so caught up in my own selfish feelings and emotions.
We got in the bus to leave and I selfishly kept saying to God… How could you do this to me?
Now, I’m not one of those people that God audibly talks to or some enlightened being, but I always consider my inner dialog an open conversation with God.
On the way home God began to reveal himself to me
and put this message on my heart.
Who am I to dictate how God choses to bless people?
Who am I to put God in a box and demand that he only bless people and our ministry the way that I want him to.
God wasn’t doing this ‘to me’ or ‘against me’! No, that was my own fleshly narrow minded and selfishness. How could I consider God blessing our school with the instruments about me. This was for the Kingdom of God, the students, the mission & ministry.
There is no ‘me’ in any of that.
The Pastor of La Chureca & his family in front of their church
The Pastor of La Chureca
I am sure that the Pastor at La Chureca has spent countless days & nights praying that God would send someone who could get his church instruments.
This pastor quit his job to go to La Chureca and volunteer to become their pastor. God heard this pastors prayers. God saw the dedication & sacrifices he is making to serve Him. God knows this man’s heart.
God was revealing to me that He was honoring this Pastors prayers and obedience to the calling on His life by sending someone to answer his prayers.
La Chureca is a place that feels hopeless. It looks like the mouth of hell. The people there seem to have no way out. They are voiceless and trapped in what seems like an eternity of being forgotten.
This lady almost didn’t make the trip to Nicaragua. It was a last minute decision that allowed her to join this team. God changed this woman’s circumstances to answer this mans prayers.
God used selfish little me to bring this woman into this pastors life to show him that God is listening & he is not forgotten.
I immediately felt ashamed that I could have even thought of questioning God and his intentions. Who am I to tell God what to do and how to do it. I had been so selfish and unworthy of even receiving Gods blessing that day.
Even though God didn’t answer my prayers in this particular case, it taught me that I should never think that God isn’t listening, to stay faithful in trusting God and continuing to be obedient to his direction.
Even when you are feeling forgotten
God is always working for your good.