“You were not to know any god except Me, for there is no savior besides Me. I cared for you in the wilderness, in the land of drought. As they had their pasture, they became satisfied, and being satisfied, their heart became proud; therefore they forgot Me.” Hosea 13:4a-6 (NASB)
“God, please bring suffering into my life.” Why would someone ever pray that? Seems foolish! Back in 1997 I had the audacity to pray this while attending a discipleship training school abroad. Was I just an enthusiastic, but rather naïve 19-year old, or was I on to something?
We need to be careful what we pray for. God I need a better job. Lord, please help us get a house with more room. Please help me find the right person to marry! God, can you heal my back pain? There’s nothing wrong with these prayers. God wants to hear our concerns and desires, but we so often pray for what we think will make our lives better. Gaining comfort is often our primary motivation.
Greener grass is not what we really need. When Israel got what they wished for, they forgot all about God in their prosperity. When life gets easier, we tend to take His kindness for granted and fail to live with an attitude of thanksgiving. God’s generous gifts then become idols that stifle our spiritual growth.
I’m not suggesting that we pray to have suffering, but we do need to think through our priorities. Our greatest need as followers of Jesus is to become more like Him. In God’s plan that often means allowing seasons of trials to drive us to greater dependence in Him. If God’s bottom line is to make us more like Jesus, then we should start praying like it’s ours too.
Dear God, make me more like Jesus no matter what it takes. Amen.