When I was a new believer in Jesus 30 years ago, it seemed like I tried more often than not to tell God how He ought to answer my prayers.
I was roughly six months along in my pregnancy with my first child, when my daughter decided to flip around and was in the wrong positon for the birth. Unless she was returned to the correct position, and quickly, I would be facing a cesarean section.
The doctor gave me exercises to try to get her to turn on her own, which I did diligently, but to no avail.
The doctor then scheduled an external version, where the medical personnel would move the baby around to the correct position by pushing on my belly, while I lay on the bed with my back uncomfortably arched. There was no guarantee that this procedure would be successful, but it would be somewhat painful. I remember asking my small group at church to pray. In my mind, I wanted the baby to turn before the external version would be necessary.
The procedure was scheduled, and all the while I hoped for a miraculous change in her position so I wouldn’t have to go through the procedure. The date for the external version came, and still my daughter was laying the wrong way. Reluctantly I submitted to it – thinking at the time that it was painful, but having no idea about the pain of childbirth that I was soon going to experience! The external version worked, and the nurses afterward told me that they had never seen such a procedure happen so quickly or easily.
You would think I would have been thrilled. I was able to deliver my child naturally a few months later, and God had answered my prayers. In my naïve pride, though, I was disappointed. I wanted God to supernaturally turn the baby without any medical help. I had my terms, and God did not meet them, even though the outcome was ultimately good.
It’s been many years since then and I now look back with embarrassment on my immature faith. How audacious for me to think I could tell God how He should answer my request and what it should look like in order to qualify as an answered prayer in my book.
That’s one reason we want to make sure that when we put our expectation in God, we leave it wide open to Him as to how He wants to deliver our miracle or provide help. Our expectation is not in a prescriptive answer or method. Our expectation is in God’s ultimate goodness, working out His benevolent plan in our lives. We can expect Him to be good to us.