There’s this joke about a man who is stranded in the ocean and prays for help. Boats pass by offering to rescue him, and he declines the help stating that God will save him. When he arrives in heaven, he asks why God didn’t save him, to which the punchline is “I sent you three boats!”
Awhile back, my husband and I were on a date when our car broke down. We called AAA and were told that the car needed to be towed to a mechanic. I reached out to a friend who patiently solved my problem by suggesting to use Uber. I have never used Uber (which is laughable in Silicon Valley) and this compounded my stress and fears of the unknown. I wanted to be rescued; but rather than rescue me, my friend offered me a solution that required action on my part. And yes, Uber got us home safely that night.
Isn’t this how God works sometimes? Sure, there were supernatural healings in the Bible, but often times people were required to partake in the miracle. The walls of Jericho fell only after Joshua led his men to march around the city. The blind man with Jesus’ mud-spit mixture in his eyes had to wash his eyes. And countless other times, Jesus told people their healing would match the level of their faith.
I often find myself praying for God for Him to reveal Himself to me. I want Him to be so real that I never doubt my faith. But what we often don’t realize is that the miraculous is constantly happening around us. We pray, “Show me a sign, Lord!” But if it’s only the sign we are looking for, we can miss the boat. While God may be sending many boats come rescue us, we may fail to see them for what they are.
This past year, God has blessed me beyond what I could have ever asked for by providing a mentor. She approached me at church and straight up offered to be my mentor. I didn’t understand how incredible this was until she urged me to help my husband find a mentor. Hardest. Thing. Ever. It’s like setting up a man-playdate. It can be awfully awkward for a man to ask another man to hang out and provide accountability. I was imagining my husband asking another guy, “Do you want to hang out once a week and talk about our sins?”
It can be awkward for anyone, actually. We generally befriend people who are at a similar stage in life. A mentor is someone who is a few steps ahead of you. It’s someone you admire, look up to, and want to be like. It’s like a spiritual internship. So asking someone to take on that role means asking someone to take on the additional work of training you up and to help you be more accountable for your actions. It’s a lot of work. In my eyes, to have had someone approach me and ask to mentor me was not the normal process to obtain a mentor. Or maybe I’m just awkward. But God provided.
I’ve heard pastors say that God answers every prayer. It’s either a “yes,” “no,” or “not yet.” And I’ve started to wonder whether God has already answered some of my prayers with a “yes,” and that there may be times I miss the boat. I’m seeing that a lot of times, there’s an action I need to take before I can see what God has already done. Maybe it’s completing an application or reaching out to someone. I don’t know what you are praying for, and I’m not claiming to know the answer, but think about what you can do to take that next step toward what you are praying for, and see what walls God knocks down.