Earlier this week, I prayed a prayer. I knew that it was the right prayer to pray. How did I know? Because I had prayed about it.
That's right - I had prayed and asked for God to give me the prayer to pray, to give me the words and the heart to approach the situation in question the way that He would have me approach it, to bring it to Him in the way that He would have me to bring it to Him. He answered that prayer in abundance, and I knew both what to pray and why.
So I prayed.
And you know? I felt pretty good about it. I did. I knew that it was the right prayer to pray, and I felt His yoke come upon me to share the burden that I had been carrying. I knew that He would answer the prayer that I had just prayed with the same faithfulness and good grace that He had answered the pray I prayed in order to have prayed it.
But then, He did.
To be honest with you, I wasn't ready for it. It's not what I had expected to happen, even though I had literally just given God permission to answer in such a way and had felt at so much peace. Perhaps the reason that I had felt at so much peace was because I had expected Him to answer the other way, you know - the way that would have affirmed me and encouraged me and been exactly what I wanted, even when I gave Him permission not to give me what I wanted.
In other words, I prayed for God's wisdom to keep my feet from stumbling, but I still never expected Him to say, "No," when I really kind of secretly (or not-so-secretly) had my heart set on a "yes," but with a hedge of protection around it.
Despite the fact, of course, that I had not prayed for "yes;" I had prayed for wisdom and for God's Will.
And I had gotten it.
In the aftermath, I confess that I did not know what to do. I didn't. I had done this beautifully faithful thing that was wrapped in amazing love and grace, and I had prayed a prayer to pray a prayer and then prayed that prayer with full confidence that it was the right prayer to pray, and in the answer and the echoes, my soul was crushed. My spirit, discouraged. My heart, grieved.
For no other reason than that God had given me exactly what I asked for, which was not what I was asking for.
Then here I am, knowing not what to do, knowing not what to say, knowing not, almost, how to even breathe again. I mean, what do you do when God takes away in wisdom what you had yearned for in faith?
It took, perhaps, far longer than it should have. It took a few days of wrestling in despair. It took some time for me to get my head back on straight, to come back to a place of some semblance of balance where I could begin again to think clearly and to access the depths of my own wounded soul (pushing through, it must be said, my wounded ego), but I finally figured out what I could do about the whole thing.
I could pray.
So I sat in the stillness, my heart in my hands, my breath caught in my throat, and my eyes on grace, and I prayed - I prayed a prayer that God would give me the prayer to pray....