You just can’t outdo God. As Paul says, when we boast, we should be boasting in Christ because it isn't us doing the doing. Everything is of Him and through Him which is something the World just doesn't get. One of those things that I've been studying for many years is Prayer. He has taught me so much through my prayers and His answers to my prayers.
But it didn’t come through some mysterious blast of supernatural knowledge. He has taught me over many years through our conversations and through how He has worked in my life, constantly striving to make me perfect.
He started very early on when I was old enough to understand what He was doing, and mature enough to want to understand more. He had answered many prayers of mine when I was a child… you know those selfish prayers like “Oh, please God let me get this and such for Christmas!” Or “Please God, help me remember what I studied and to get an A on this test.”
God taught me about obedience to His commands…
One day my youth pastor’s wife asked me to teach her young boys how to swim. I was a lifeguard at our club pool and had been giving lessons at the Y because I was a certified water safety instructor. So, I told her of course I’d teach them. I picked them up one afternoon and took them to the bayou where everyone cooled off from the summer heat. Those little fish didn’t need lessons. They were naturals. So, we played for a couple of hours and I took them home, refusing any pay because you lose your WSI certification if you take payment.
The next Sunday morning it was time for my tithe and all I had was a $5 bill. I checked with everyone to see if they had change so I could tuck my $2 tithe in the envelope. No one had change, there was nothing in my hidey-hole where I kept my emergency money. So, I held up that envelope and prayed, “LORD, please take this $5 and take what you need and give me back the rest.” I fully expected Him to keep the whole $5, hadn’t a clue how He could give me back anything.
Between Sunday School and church service, Mrs. Ford called out to me on the breezeway. “Gina, I just don’t feel right that you taught my boys and I didn’t pay you.” All the while she was digging in her purse. I tried to be kind, but insistent that I couldn’t take any money, wouldn’t take any. I wanted to keep my certification. Then she pulled out some money and thrust it in my hand. I pushed it back to her. She said, “All I have right now is $3, but I’ll give you more later. Please, just call it babysitting money.”
Three dollars? My mind spun around. Three dollars! LORD God, You are a fast worker! I graciously smiled and turned toward the sanctuary, a prayer of thanksgiving on my lips that God had heard and quickly responded to me, that He had considered me worthy of an answer, but more importantly He had given me a testimony of tithing that has impacted my entire life!
He has taught me humbleness…
God has a great sense of humor and doesn’t mind using it to teach me lessons. One day I was walking in the back yard all full of myself. I was telling God how important I was to Tensas Parish in Louisiana, what a great thing He did by giving me that job… how I’d brought all this grant money in to do all this good work and I actually said—“God, just how much do You think all my work in this parish is worth?” I looked down and at my feet was a shiny new quarter. All MY work was only worth about 2 bits!
He has taught me to wait on Him because He knows best…
I was on my way across town to help my daughter pack up some things to move. It was a blistering July day and my car had no A/C. Once again I was talking to God about it. I asked God if it were possible to please just let me sell come cemetery property so I’d get the $800 it would take to fix the A/C. I reminded Him that I should get to my appointments cool as a cucumber. He reminded me that my appointments were at night when it was cool. I reminded him that I had places to go and things to do during the day time, too, and this summer was particularly hot. He pointed out that this July had been markedly cooler than last July. I ended my prayer with, ‘But, I’d like to get from point A to point B cool and refreshed and not smelling like a horse!” He was quiet for a moment. The light turned green and I turned the corner heading to my daughter’s apartment when suddenly, my large 32 oz glass of ice water tipped into my lap. Oh, yes, I arrived very cool and very refreshed. I laughed all the way to the apartment. I can’t think of anything sweeter than sitting in His lap and laughing together!
Just two short months later, my daughter had just dropped me off at work then my A/C-less Ford Thunderbird had a crushing encounter with a Ford Explorer. My Thunderbird was about the size of a Mustang after that. God knew that encounter was coming, so He kept me from pouring $800 into that car which would have been a waste.
Those are just a few of the many, many times God has taught me great life lessons through prayer. He taught me lessons about being on time when He gave me grace for being late to an extremely important meeting by turning every light green just before I got to it. He’s held time still for me, I kid you not, I got to a meeting inside of two minutes on a trip that should have taken at least 15 minutes. He has covered me with His gentle hand when I was devastated by rejection. He has given me employment and He has taken employment away, all for my protection, to keep me from the clutches of Satan or to send me on to my next ministry. That is a story that will have to wait to another day.