When God Says No, A Story from My Life in Bend, Oregon
By Christy Osterkamp
I didn’t ask for anything petty, or illegal, immoral, or indulgent. I simply, again, asked for a basic full time job for my son in law to support his family, consisting of my daughter and their 17 month old son. They were wonderful enough to move down the street from us after being released from the Marines, but ever since they arrived, they have struggled to find enough work to support their little family. I thought I could win God’s favor by offering to have my prayer for my own job denied in favor of my son in law receiving his. It didn’t work. It wasn’t as if I was trying to bribe God. I had heard that if you want something answered for yourself, pray it for another person.
“Who, if asked by his child for a piece of bread, would give him a stone instead?”
Once again, these words from Matthew 7:9 enter my thoughts and I ask yet again, Why God? As Tevye the Milkman in “Fiddler on the Roof” laments, “Would it be so terrible if I had a small fortune?” And I’m not even asking for a fortune! I’m just asking for a basic full time job with benefits, something most of us took for granted until 2008. The economic crash of 2008, combined with the untimely abandonment by our former spouses, left my husband and I bankrupt and starting all over again financially.
My husband and I love word games. When someone says something like “hang in there”, or “God has a better plan for you”, I usually call it a “Duck-billed Platitude”. Those clichés which are meant to make me feel better leave me feeling no comfort at all. If I had a dollar for every application I’ve filled out, and every interview I lost, I would then be rich, or so it seems.
Counting My Blessings
When I am reminded to count my blessings, shame washes over me as I remember that all my needs are met, my bills are paid, my family is well, and my feeling sorry for myself is the height of selfishness. I have no right to whine about being unemployed, when the truth is I am not comfortable being supported by someone else! I had been self sufficient by necessity for six years, playing the role of mother and father and provider to my three daughters, sending two of them off to college, and planning and paying for two of their weddings. Now for some reason totally out of my control, I am RELIANT upon my husband to support us, while I bring in meager income doing substitute jobs while continuing this long struggle to find permanent work again. The funny thing is, my husband never complains, or whines how I don’t pull my own weight.
What could God be trying to teach me?
One thing I have learned in all of this is to Fully Rely on God (the FROG acronym). My son in law is also learning this, and perhaps in so doing we are receiving something of more worth and value than getting what we want right now.
Ask, Seek, Knock
Matthew 7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
Tomorrow I will continue to ask, seek, and knock. God doesn’t get tired of my questions and requests. All that He asks for is my faith.
I look forward to the day when I can look back and see where all these unanswered prayers were leading. Then, as Joyce Meyer likes to say, I will turn all my “moanies” into testimonies!
Epikos Community Blog
Welcome to the Epikos Community Blog where you can find and read blog posts from members of Epikos Church in Bend, OR. At Epikos we believe in the value of every member and this is a place for members to share about the work God is doing in their lives.