Tuesday, February 20, 2007

When God Goes Beyond our Prayers

I’m rushing to write this post, having just returned from teaching at a writer’s conference.

One of my biggest fears when I teach is that nobody will show up for my workshop (or, in this case, workshops—I taught two over this past weekend). Before leaving for the conference on Friday evening I sent up a desperate prayer, “God, please don’t let my fear come true. It hasn’t yet, but there’s always a first time. And it did happen to Laura last year” (the ironic thing is that she was teaching on overcoming rejection) “I’m not going to say that I won’t be able to handle it if I have to face an empty classroom. If You allow it then You obviously think I can handle it, or need to handle it for some reason. The truth is that I don’t want to face that humiliation. I don’t want to have to tell my fellow teachers, family and friends ‘Nobody came.’ I feel like I did too much preparation and solicited the prayers of too many friends to have that happen. I hope you agree, God. So please just send a few people to each workshop. If even one person shows up, I’ll be satisfied, trusting that he or she was sent by You.”

I zipped my tote bag, feeling a sense of peace that God would send me at least one student for each class that I’d eagerly prepared to teach.

On Friday night my friend Carol—who I was co-teaching one workshop with—and I waited for registrants to arrive in our assigned classroom, for “Writing Dynamic Devotions.” One woman walked in and took the handouts that we’d set out.

“Thank You, God,” I whispered. He had officially answered my prayer.

Then another woman walked through the door. Then another. A man strolled in, followed by two more ladies. By the time we started, the room was filled! We had to set up more chairs. We actually ran out of handouts!

I reveled in the joy of teaching to a “packed house.” More than that, I rejoiced in God’s choice to not answer my prayer for one or two students. Instead He surpassed my expectations and filled the room.

I’m not sure if God was trying to teach me to trust Him for more, or if this simply stood as a reminder that sometimes He gives us what we deep down want and maybe even need but are afraid to ask for. After a difficult few months, I needed a lift. The amazing turnout definitely provided that!

The next day I taught “Writing for Today’s Teen” and only four people showed up. Still I thanked God. For one thing, again He sent students my way. Once more He surpassed my prayer for “one or two.” More than that though, I remembered the night before, when He blew away.

Today, take a moment to thank God for those times when He didn’t only answer your prayer, but want far beyond it! What might He have in store for you today?

Blessings on your day,

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