In an episode of 'The Big Bang Theory' I just watched Sheldon - obsessive compulsive genius - wants to go to see the Hadron Collider in Switzerland with his friend Leonard in place of Leonard's girlfriend, Penny. In order to persuade Leonard to take him instead Sheldon directly confronts him several times, pleading his case. He tries to 'butter him up' with breakfast in bed and compliments, then he talks to Penny to plead his case for him. The point is that Sheldon wasn't going to give up on his childhood dream.
Another example of this same journey is, romantically, in 'A Walk To Remember' as popular but bad boy Landon Carter falls in love with Jamie Sullivan and wins her heart by becoming a Christian and literally making her bucket list a reality.
The base line is: if you really want something, you will go to all sorts of lengths to get it.
The trick is to never give up.
When God has other plans, however, there seems to be nothing one can do. When it was evident that Mum wouldn't have much time left I was confused. How could this be God's plan? I was angry that he would dare take away such a loving, perfect human being. For what? What good could possibly come from an absence of such good? It didn't make sense. It still doesn't make sense. I couldn't accept that this was what God wanted, yet her passing seemed to be inevitable. I struggled to pray. So many had said they would pray for her to get better, pray for healing and to be honest neither were likely nor were they necessarily the best thing for her. Even if she had recovered fully physically, she would have suffered traumatically, and would have had to go through the same thing again, just later in life.
In a coincidentally relevant Bible study, before we were rushed down to Papworth in September, we discussed whether things that happen are or are not in God's plan. We then talked about God's will for his people and whether everything that happens is condoned by God. Without thinking one could say of course everything that happens is meant to happen. But that would be the biggest misunderstanding of God's love and his good intentions, for in saying 'yes - everything that happens, God wants to happen' we include death, murder, rape, robbery, mugging and every other bad daily happening, which goes against everything God is. So, God is Love, he is all powerful, yet he doesn't want everything that does happen, to happen? Yes. Bad things happen because man has potential to be evil. Sometimes bad things happen because of a Butterfly Effect of factors, out of anyone's control. But God's control comes in when bad things do happen, because no matter how much you try avoid it bad things will happen. As long as there is free will and sin, bad things will happen. But with God, good can always come out of the consequences of any action. We are getting away from the point a bit, but it is all relevant...
With this in mind - that not every action is wanted by God, and that he makes goo happen from bad - I began to think about how I was praying. I had been praying for months, years, that Mum would get better, that her illness would disappear from her body and that she be able to take walks with us, go on holiday, to the USA, back to work, even do gardening as she loved. On the other hand I had also been praying that 'your will be done, whatever it is.'
In our study we looked at Abraham's encounter with God, before Sodom was destroyed. (I am finding that in study I learn three times as much about 'Bible stories' now than when I first read them, fascinating stuff.) Genesis 18:22-33 tells of how Abraham intercedes for Sodom - in short, he bargains with the Lord to spare the city for even the 10 righteous that might remain there. In other words - he asks God (quite cheekily) to change his plan, if it is possible.
This struck me silent. The thought that I could actually come to God and ask him to do what I wanted, seemed far from giving my life to Him. But it makes sense. If you don't ask, you don't get. God knows our hearts, no doubt, he gives all good things, for sure. So asking for our most inward desire, well that just makes sense. I started praying "If it is possible for your will to continue, with Mum alive and well - do that, because I still need her here."
Whilst it might seem a trivial revelation, in hindsight, at the time it was a wonderful release.
I no longer felt bad for not wanting what God might be planning, but if His plan to be to take Mum then I was certain that that was what had to happen. A few weeks after the study He answered by taking Mum to be with Him, drifting from the midst of our family to His. And that's OK. (Sometimes it's not OK but that's a different story in sorts.)
What I'm trying to get at is that if you want something enough, do everything you can to get it. It's even ok to go up against God, to ask Him for what you really want - not just the 'Christian' request of 'your will be done'. It's also OK to stand up for yourself, to tell others what you want and need, something which is also becoming easier for me to do.
'Delight in the Lord and he will grant you the desires of your heart.' Psalms 37:4