There's a lady in our church who is one of those people who loves to be organized. She makes sign-up sheets for events and things needing to be done in the church. She announces that she'll be approaching everyone after the service and, with a charming smile she says, "Just say yes!"
When she did this on a Sunday morning a while ago I thought of the old movie Bruce Almighty. There's a scene in the movie that I think of quite often. Bruce, who has taken on God's responsibilities, receives millions of prayer requests - by email of course. He is quite overwhelmed by the sheer volume and does not know how he will answer them all, but then hits on a solution: just say yes. He begins typing that small word and sends off all the positive answers to prayer with delight. Brilliant.
But no. All those positive answers to prayer don't bring the positive results Bruce had expected. Some of the results were in fact, disastrous. God has to explain that yes is not always the right answer.
That's hard for us to accept. We want our prayers answered right away and we want the answers to be in line with what we think should happen. We want the pain to go away. We want prosperity to fill our lives with pleasure. We want our loved ones to live forever. But God knows granting all our wishes is not in our best interest or in the best interest of those around us. He sees the bigger picture. He knows when a yes is appropriate and when it is not. Moral of the story - let God be God.
Let Him work in His own way in His own time. Of course He will, whether or not we let Him! But if we join Him, work with Him instead of against Him and trust Him, our lives will be more peaceful than if we struggle to make things work on our own terms.
Sometimes I wish I had a magic wand that would make everything better. A wand that would prevent teenagers from self-destructing and adults from growing old and cynical. I wish I could answer everyone's prayers with a resounding yes. Sometimes I wish I could play God. But I know it's not my place. I have to learn to let God be God.