When I was young and new to Christianity, I understood that I needed to go to Sunday school, Sunday service, and the evening service if there was one. Also, I believed that I had to read the bible (“God’s Word”) daily. Prayer? I still feel that I should pray as much as possible.
My indoctrination to the faith came with a lot of rules. I began in the baptist church, and as with all denominations, the baptist had their way of doing things, their way of interpreting scripture, and their own beliefs about who God is.
It has been 36 years since what I call my spiritual awakening. Long before going to church and joining officially, I had begun reading the scripture for myself. My reading was the result of what Evangelical Christians call “witnessing.” A woman I worked with briefly was a constant reminder that I needed to be “saved.”
I think I had always been a believer in believing Jesus was who he claimed to be. During my “awakening,” I became even more drawn to the scriptures that recounted his life here on earth. As a result, the scripture solidified my faith.
Over the years, life happens. It is not always good. In my case, sometimes I feel most of it has been a disappointment. I will not try to list those disappointments here. However, you should know that I came to a point in my life where I wished I had never heard of church or the name “Jesus.” Things in life were not going my way. My life certainly wasn’t going the way the church was telling me that it should.
Over the years, I learned that God has some limitations because of the complete freedom he gives to humans. When it comes to relationships, this is especially true. Any relationship’s success is dependent upon the people involved to cooperate. Because God has given us complete freedom, he will not coerce anyone. Not even at your request.
So when you are praying for your marriage to work out, you may as well forget about asking God to force your partner to be what you want or believe they should be. Besides, shouldn’t you love them unconditionally? When that person does not change to your liking, what can you do? What can God do if he will not coerce them?
All relationships depend on people getting along, agreeing, or agreeing to disagree. God is not getting involved in your business dealings by manipulating things to go your way. It wouldn’t be fair to the other people involved. God doesn’t cheer for your football team, not even if you’re at a Christian school or other “Christian” organization.
God indeed is NOT favoring one ethnic group over another. That would be racism. Is God a racist? If your god is a racist, he is not God.
You may think God is on your side when you and your group of people can force things to go your way. However, just because something goes to your liking does not mean God has blessed or decreed that it be as you wanted. If your “thing” is unfair to other people, it needs to be changed.
So who can God change when it comes to your prayer about a relationship or circumstance? YOU! That is what I have found to be true in my life. When I was praying for my failing marriage, it was all about how I thought she needed to change. Don’t get me wrong. I had some legitimate gripes. However, the Lord can only change a person who is willing to cooperate with him. Until that happens, there is no change.
The more I prayed, the more I found that I was more willing to obey what I heard in my spirit from the Lord. I was changing. I was willing. At some point, I realized that I didn’t know what was in my spouse’s heart or how willing she was to hear and obey the voice of God. I had to let that part of it go. The only person God can “control” is the willing person. I decided to become that willing person.
I began hearing instruction from the Lord, which was the opposite of what I wanted. Mainly, God was instructing me to give in and stop fighting the other person’s desires. The more I followed the Lord’s instruction, the further from being married I became. Eventually, the marriage ended.
What happened in the process, however, I gained more peace in my heart. The relationship with the other was better; more peaceful, and friendly. It just was not a marriage anymore.
I can’t tell you I am much better years later. I don’t feel emotionally healthy enough to be in a romantic relationship. I am not sure what it feels like to be in love with someone. I’m not sure anyone does. Sometimes I don’t even think it is a real thing. I hope that I am wrong. Maybe it will happen to me someday. At this point, I have my doubts.
Being in love is something the Lord will have to work on in me. I am willing, and I want to participate in the process. I don’t think I can find this by going to church every Sunday or a weekly bible study or by my own searching. I enjoy the religious activities, but I don’t go often. I also don’t feel any guilt about not going.
Since going through such difficult times, I ended up with more confidence in God’s love for me. I’m not afraid for my eternal soul. I know he has me and will never let go. I know that I sometimes limit God in what he can accomplish in my life. However, I do desire to be a willing participant in whatever he is trying to do for me; and that is because I believe God is good.
Having said all that, our limiting God will not last. After all, God IS God. There are so many scriptures that speak to God’s ability to accomplish his plans.
“Jesus looked at them and replied, ‘This is impossible for mere humans, but for God all things are possible'”.Matthew 19:26
“For nothing will be impossible with God.”Luke 1:37
“Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”Genesis 18:14
These are just a few scriptural examples. This post is not about the impossibilities of God. It’s just that sometimes we slow God down by not understanding what he is trying to do in our lives. It may take God a very long time to accomplish his will, but he won’t fail.