“The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:26-27
It is easy for me to say, “Jesus knows what I need.” It is more challenging to trust him. When I have a problem, I know I can pray to him. I know I can come with anything, and everything. However, I may be reluctant to accept his answer. The conflict begins within me. I may pray for help, but in my heart I have already decided what I need. I may not be so arrogant as to tell Jesus what he must do, but I am disappointed when my request is not answered in a way that is pleasing to me.
There are few thoughts I need to remember. The first is, Jesus will always do what is best for me (Romans 8:28). His answer comes from his intimate knowledge of my need (Luke 12:6-7), and his wisdom to know what will truly help. I also need to understand Jesus may answer my prayers in a way that is completely unexpected.
The disciples needed to understand this as Jesus approached the end of his earthly ministry. They would have preferred everything remain just the way it was. They weren’t ready to be on the “front line of the battle.” Consequently, their prayers were for Jesus to stay on this earth.
Jesus answered their prayers in way that was completely unexpected. He said he would send them the Holy Spirit to comfort and guide them in the truth. He also provided the means to quiet their agitated hearts and remove their timidity. Jesus’ answer equipped them to be confident, courageous and competent witnesses.
Jesus answers my prayers in a similar way. I may ask him to remove my problems and to erase the troubles I have to face. Instead of removing them, he addresses the greater need – my heart. He calms my troubled heart with the assurance of his presence. He removes my timidity with the victory of his death and resurrection. In the end, I may still have to face problems and challenges, but I can do it with the confidence and courage only Jesus can offer.
So what should I expect when I pray? Is it too much to expect a perfect, trouble-free life with everything I ever want? Possibly. What I need to know is Jesus will forgive me, comfort me, strengthen me, renew me and protect me. What I also I need to know is he will always do what is best for me. In the end, I can depend on Jesus and his great love. I can also expect he will do what may seem completely unexpected.