Praying? Here’s your answer!

“You need to eat breakfast, brush your teeth, brush your hair, and clean your room before you can have more screen time.” I sat at my desk in my home-office trying to get some work done. 

In the living room on the other side of a glass door, my eleven -year-old rolled around as if his clothes were on fire. Over the last several minutes his voice had slowly risen to a whine, barraging me with how unfair I was being and how things needed to change around here. It was the third time I’d told him, and I wasn’t doing well keeping the frustration out of my voice. 

“No, no, no!” He interrupted me, thrusting a little hand toward me, palm outward in his best exorcism. “I’m NOT doing it.” 

I just looked at him.

He stared back, red-faced and defiant. “NO!” 

The tone of my reply was so much harder than I wanted it to be. “Then don’t. But this doesn’t just affect your screen time today, here’s how screen-time works from now on. Your answer to me is going to be my answer to you.”

Realization dawned on his face. “Wait, wait. Dad…”

I interrupted. “No, no, no!”

His eyes flicked back and forth, looking for an escape. “OK. Yes. But first…”

I was beginning to enjoy this a little. “I’m NOT doing it.” 


“NO!” I thrust my hand toward him, palm outward, and tried not to laugh.

“Arrrrgh.” He rolled off the couch and lay face down on the floor. “This isn’t fair.” Finally he staggered to his feet and stormed off to the bathroom. I could hear his voice echo down the hall. “But this is the last time I’m doing it.”

Have you ever felt God laugh at you? I did right then. I’ve been dragging my feet writing this post even though he’s made it clear my blogs are a priority right now. At the same time, I’m asking for God’s help with an investment project, book marketing, and a few other things. I need and expect God’s help, and I wonder why I’m stuck in every direction and can’t feel his presence like I normally can. 

“Your answer to me is going to be my answer to you.” I can almost see the mirth crinkling the corners of his eyes. 

“Arrrrgh.” I roll my eyes. I know better. I know how foolish resistance is. When I was younger, I spent money selfishly and chose not to tithe, too often making my money decisions a “no” to God. More no’s came in my relationship choices, media choices, language choices, and the way I spent my time. Looking back, all of my deepest hurts and disappointments, directly or indirectly were a result of saying no to God. 

Does that mean a yes to God is a life free from problems? No. But when they come, he leads me through them. I once met a lady in her 40s who mourned that her failed relationships were a giant repeating circle. She put her face in her hands. “I can’t believe I’m here again.”

When I was younger my life went in pointless circles too – even after I started saying yes. I’ll never forget how all the aspects of my life I’d built on a “no” came unraveled – my finances, my business, my marriage. I teetered on the precipice of depression. A giant invisible fist squeezed my heart. I thought those years would never end. I thought I’d lose everything. 

But instead of giving up on a God who either didn’t have a plan for me or had the worst plans in the world, I prayed harder, listened more, carved out more time with him, fasted, and did my best to say yes.

I discovered that hurt, disappointment, fear, and loss are all short-term conditions. That’s what happens when he leads me. I go through the dark valley and come out the other side. I feel like I’m going to break, but I don’t. I feel like I’m lost and wandering, but if I stay connected, he takes me to a destiny more amazing than I could have thought possible.

I eventually discovered God knows what I want better than I do. He actively orchestrates the events of the world around what he wants. If I get on board with his plan (if I want what he wants), he is actively orchestrating the world around what I want. 

In the end, his answer to me was my answer to him. He gave me back everything I lost: money, exciting work, a fantasy marriage. It sounds so much like a hyperbole, but he’s not done. God’s opening some doors that are blowing my mind (I can’t talk about them yet). I hardly dare to believe it’s real. 

I guess Proverbs 3 is right. No matter how little his ways make sense or how badly I want something else, there’s really only one thing to say. Yes, yes, YES!