In Michelangelo’s Coffee shop on Main St in the Fall of 2013, I began to pray Jabez’s Prayer over my life alongside my best friend Trevor Knight and spiritual mentor Adam Barnett. In 2 Chronicles, Jabez asks God to bless him, to protect him, to draw him close, and to expand his territory. At the time, I did not truly understand the significance of that last point: TERRITORY.
More…. More growth. More responsibility. More impact.
In the years that followed, I saw God expand my territory and bless me immensely and consistently. As time went on, my role and my platform grew exponentially, and that expansion of territory manifested itself in a number of highly visible leadership positions and opportunities.
Then, in the Summer of 2017, God called me to coach, and Coach Riley offered me an opportunity to join his support staff. In the three years since, I have been working behind the scenes to do whatever is necessary to help our players and coaches succeed on and off the field. Most of the time, the role of a GA/QC is not very glamorous. Tasks are sometimes time-consuming and monotonous; late nights and early mornings are the norm. Coaching is a grind, and everyone has to start at the bottom rung of the ladder and thirsts for an opportunity to move up and become a position coach.
Over these past three years, I’ve still prayed Jabez’s Prayer every single day.
Blessing. Protection. Intimacy. TERRITORY.
As time passed, I became impatient with God.
“Alright God, I’m ready for MORE!”
“Haven’t I done this long enough?!”
“I DESERVE an opportunity!”
I felt as if, after years of outpouring of blessing and growth, God suddenly shut the spicket off and left me in solitude, toiling tirelessly in anonymity and frustration.
Heading into this past season, I began to pray fervently to God that this would be the year that I would land a job and get an opportunity to show that I am ready. Each day, I prayed that He would show me His favor and grant me an opportunity. As the season went on, I did everything in my power to set myself up to get a job. I picked up the phone. I got on the plane. I solicited advice. I put myself out there again and again.
Most of the time, when we cry out to God, we ask him to change our circumstance. And sometimes he does. But sometimes, instead, He changes our hearts.
That’s what He has done with me.
I was challenged by three heroes of the Bible that were facing a far more dire situation than a fruitless job search. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to worship the golden statue of Nebuchadnezzar and were set to be thrown into the fiery furnace as punishment for their disobedience. In their moment of truth, they said to the king “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
If you are familiar with the story, you remember that God does rescue them from the flames, but they made their intention very clear: Either way, they would be faithful.
THAT is what true faith looks like. I want to pray to my God like He is the Maker of the Universe, not a genie in a lamp.
I hope that you can pray this with me today:
God, I trust that you are ABLE to answer my prayer. If you DO NOT answer, it is not because you are not able or did not hear me, it is because your plan is far superior to my request. It will bring you more glory and draw me much closer to you.
If you give me what I ask, I will praise and obey you. If you do not, I will praise and obey you.
Maybe God’s plan is for me to get that chance I want so desperately want, or maybe His plan is for me to stay right here, serving others and waiting patiently.
Maybe instead of a new job, God wanted to give me a new heart.