For the past several years, I’ve been fortunate to have some pretty cushy jobs. I’ve been working at a radio station for awhile now, and before that, I spent a few years working with computers at a high school. Both of these jobs involved lots of sitting and a healthy dose of air conditioning. I had worked difficult jobs before, complete with early hours, lots of standing, and no air conditioning, but those were part of my distant past.
Now that I’m at a place in my life where working part time is not enough to pay the bills, I’ve picked up a second job at a pizza place. I spend most of the day on my feet, and by the evening things get pretty hectic. And pizza place hectic is very different from radio station hectic. I’m getting more and more used to it, but after a couple days of work I realized that all the air conditioning and padded seats had become my norm. I had been spoiled by great jobs.
I remember one night I was particularly exhausted. I didn’t see how I could make it through the week feeling as worn out as I did. So when 11:11 rolled around and I made my wish prayer, I asked God to give me the energy and strength to make it through the week. I fell asleep before I could say “Amen.”
The next morning, I woke up full of energy and ready to face the day. It was an answer to prayer. Unfortunately, I didn’t see it that way. I thought, Of course I’m full of energy. I went to bed an hour and a half earlier than I normally do! It’s a good thing I did that. I haven’t felt any magic tingles that would indicate God’s supernatural energy flowing through me. Silly God.
Okay, maybe I didn’t think those last couple sentences word-for-word, but that was the underlying thought process. I got more energy by falling asleep earlier, not by God interfering in the natural order of life. Clearly, I had answered my own prayer.
Eventually, though, I felt convicted. I remembered the verse in James that says all good things come from God. All good things. Even answers to prayer that aren’t delivered by singing angels and fancy special effects. Sometimes, I get so caught up thinking about how big and supernatural God is that I forget he doesn’t have to answer every prayer in a way that’s obviously big and supernatural. God can answer prayer through little, ordinary things like an earlier bedtime.
It’s easy to write off the boring answers to prayer. We love sharing dramatic stories of God’s provision. When we can’t explain how something happened, it’s easy to point to God’s involvement. But when there’s an explanation – especially a perfectly natural and boring explanation – God fades into the background.
Have you ever written God off when he provided for you in a boring way?