When my friend David’s wife developed Alzheimer’s disease, the changes it brought to his life made him bitter. He needed to retire early to care for her; and as the disease progressed, she required increasingly more care.
“I was so angry at God,” he told me. “But the more I prayed about it, the more He showed me my heart and how I had been selfish for most of our marriage.” Tears welled in his eyes as he confessed, “She’s been sick ten years, but God has helped me see things differently. Now, everything I do out of love for her, I also do for Jesus. Caring for her has become the greatest privilege of my life.”
Sometimes God answers our prayers not by giving us what we want but by challenging us to change. When the prophet Jonah was angry because God spared the wicked city of Nineveh from destruction, God caused a plant to shade him from the hot sun (Jonah 4:6). Then He made it wither. When Jonah complained, God answered, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” (vv. 7–9). Jonah, focused only on himself, insisted it was. But God challenged him to think about others and have compassion.
God sometimes uses our prayers in unexpected ways to help us learn and grow. It’s a change we can welcome with open hearts because He wants to transform us with His love.
Lord Jesus, thank You for helping me grow when I pray. Help me to be sensitive to what You want for my life today.
Jonah’s reluctance to forgive his enemies is a reminder that the heart of God is bigger than our own.
For more about the story of Jonah, read The Failure of Success at discoveryseries.org/q0720.