Anne Lamott has a new book out called “Help. Thanks. Wow.” It’s sub-titled “Three Essential Prayers.” I know this only because I heard her interviewed on NPR. I haven’t read the book, but I did purchase it: I gave it to my sister-in-law for Christmas. This hasn’t stopped me from thinking about these three prayers: Help. Thanks. Wow.
I’m not very good at the first one: Help. It’s not asking God for help that trips me up, it’s asking anyone. Truthfully, it’s not just asking for help, it’s accepting it too. For years, accepting help meant admitting that I couldn’t do it myself. I didn’t like that.
I still don’t.
I like feeling capable.
I’m getting better at asking God for help, or so I thought. Being weaker than the Creator of the Universe carries no shame, right?
Seriously, there are some things that I just can’t figure out and, after struggling on my own, I’ve finally thrown up my hands and tossed the problem to God. That’s how it looks in my head, as if God and I are playing some cosmic form of catch with this rubik’s cube of a situation that needs to be twisted and turned until it is restored to order.
I did it the other day. Hubby and I were talking about the future: sending Sunshine off to college, dealing with the guy that hasn’t paid us for work after 9 months, Hubby’s career – mostly things that I can’t control, don’t want to control, and shouldn’t control. So I lobbed it up: “I trust you, Jesus.”
Honestly, that’s all I said in my head: “I trust you, Jesus.” and I repeated it over the next few days. When I woke up in the middle of the night and started worrying. When I woke up in the morning and started obsessing. When I looked at our bank balance and started panicking. “I trust you, Jesus.”
At the same time, I made a list and a plan and started baby stepping through that plan. Just in case God threw the problem back to me.
And then it happened.
Hubby got a call for an awesome gig, a chance to travel with good pay for just long enough, but not too long, to an exotic location.
He accepted the gig and my prayer became both “Thanks!” and “Wow!” at the same time. But, wait ..
This is so outside of what I was expecting that I’m having trouble accepting the answer. I keep thinking it will fall through, they’ll hire someone else, the timing won’t work out, something bad will happen. While I am saying “Thanks.” and “Wow”, I am also saying “Wait. Really? Seriously? Are you sure?”
I don’t know what it is, but I just can’t wrap my head around this answer. I’m not sure if I’m doubting God or the magnitude of His goodness, but this is really hard for me to accept. I’m a little surprised at my lack of faith, or whatever this is.
I know God answers prayer.
I know God answers my prayers.
Maybe I have been keeping my prayers general lately. You know “Bless so-and-so. Help so-and-so.” This was another general prayer- my version of ‘Help’- and God came back with a zinger right down the middle, an answer so ‘perfect’ that I couldn’t have dreamed it up. Let’s be clear: I NEVER would have dreamed this up.
Maybe that’s the point.
Looking back over my journal from the last week, I actually did spend some time with Ephesians 3:20:
God can do anything, you knowfar more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!
I guess he can.
As the details fall into place and Hubby makes arrangements, I’m still repeating “Thanks. Wow. Really?”
And God keeps answering “Yep.”