I asked God for strength, that I may achieve;
I was made weak, that I may learn to humbly obey.
I asked for health, that I may do great things;
I was given infirmity, that I may do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy;
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I may have the praise of man;
I was given weakness that I may feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life;
I was given life, that I may enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for, but everything that I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken
prayers were answered.
I am among all men, most richly blessed.
(This is the Prayer of an Unknown Confederate Soldier).
Many people get discouraged when they spend hours praying, only to end up feeling like God didn’t grant them their wishes. The words above voice the thoughts of many, only that in our finite thinking, we only think, ‘I asked for… but I was given…’ We fail to see the importance of what we have.
You may be feeling burdened right now, but everytime you will yourself to pray you feel like there would be no point of praying because you still won’t get what you pray for. Don’t be discouraged.
For the longest time now, I’ve been praying, asking God to take my anxiety away. It makes my life feel difficult. In a previous post, I’ve talked about how I suffered from an incessant headache for close to two years. Every day I woke up, I would ask God to take the pain away, but it’s only after a relatively long time that it stopped. I would go to bed, hoping the pain would be gone the next day, but that was difficult because I couldn’t even sleep. I stayed up all night, watching the minutes tick away.
My mom watched helplessly as I cried, unable to bear the pain. I had already been to hospital, but I was still in pain. The medicine wasn’t doing me much good, not because it wasn’t effective, but because I couldn’t stop myself from worrying; there were unbearable thoughts running through my head that I couldn’t quite contain.
The cure had to come from within.
One night, my big sister came and sat on my bed. Her eyes were awash with concern, but her voice was harsh. “Is this how you want to spend each day for the rest of your life? You have to fight it.”
Her words gave me a lot to think about. That wasn’t how I wanted to spend the rest of my life. In her tough love, I found my strength. I willed myself to stop worrying; to push the anxious thoughts out of my head. The pain didn’t go away immediately, but eventually it did. The anxiety, which caused the incessant headache in the first place, didn’t go away, but with God’s help, I found the strength to manage it. Occasionally I do fall into bouts of depression but as I said, anxiety is something I struggle with.
Lately I’m trying to look at things through the eyes of faith; it’s the only way even the bizarre can make perfect sense. So now I don’t ask God to take the anxiety away, because I would love to believe He lets me struggle with it for a reason. Instead I ask Him to help me deal with it in a way that pleases Him.