Why am I surprised when God answers prayers?

Ok. That’s today’s question.

Why am I surprised when God answers prayers?

Why? Why? Why?

I mean, I know God. I trust God. I have faith in God. I have seen and experienced God rescue me time after time after time… Yet… somehow… sometimes… I am more like the man described in James 1. You know? The one tossed about by the waves of doubt, instead of the one soaring on the wings of faith, knowing the heart of an unfailing and unchanging God.

Because I need to keep coming back to the fact that I know that the God who has always reigned, and has always been, and has always worked creatively, miraculously and perfectly, according to His will… Well, He still does that. He still is. And He always will be. So, I should expect the miraculous. Because that’s His reality. It’s Truth.

And I guess I’m sometimes guilty of letting life’s disappointments, or my own feelings of not-yet-answered-prayer, of letting those things dull my gaze and unsharpen my faith. And then… I feel surprised when God answers prayer.

But God is so incredibly gracious with my dullness and my slowness to learn! And today I have been reflecting on just how great and new and magnificant His mercies are every single day. I mean, everything He has already done for us is just so much. So incredibly much. But yet, He still delights in us, and rejoices with us and guides us forwards… There are just no words in existence to describe that reality. And today, I have been surprised by blessings that I don’t deserve, and can only rejoice in with deep thankfulness.

Ok, I said I had a cool story to tell you about one of the job opportunities in Japan.

So quick recap… Three weeks ago I had a sudden 5am moment of panic about not really knowing a great deal of detail about where I would be heading to Japan in January. I knew completely that it was the place God wanted me, I have some great dissertation stuff to write up…  But some things had changed.

And I was scared. Just a little.

And then God spoke to me about a language school, and gave me a name. And the first pieces of that puzzle started coming together. (Thank You God!)

You may also remember that as I was sorting out language school, I shot my CV off to a few places and started to apply for some scholarships for the longer term. Nothing too profound. Just testing the waters. Anyway, the result was that a couple of English schools got back in touch with me, and were interested about talking more about me working for them in the new school term in April. Again, nothing too profound. Just testing the waters.

I had enrolled at my own Japanese school until the end of April, so I thought it would be worth just dropping them an email to say that I might just be coming until the end of March… Depending on conversations and practicalities and what God said about work.

Which is where it starts to get cool.

Because the school emailed me straight back and said that it was fine to shorten my course, but that they really liked me, were opening their own English school just before Christmas, and would like to interview me for a position. Seriously. You can’t make this stuff up.

So today I had two interviews over Skype. I actually have another one in a moment. And the feedback from the first two calls was amazing. Like, more amazing and encouraging than I’ll go into detail in over a blog. They are in very different parts of Japan, one opportunity is teaching kids with music and art (up my street), the other is teaching university students with a lot of outings and social events (also up my street! They asked me if I would ‘mind’ taking groups skiing as part of my teaching timetable… Mmmm… Let me think?!? ;)), and both offer some pretty good accomodation options near great churches. This third job? Well, it’s a bigger company and they could send me anywhere… But I don’t think talking to them is going to do any harm. I have sample contracts being sent out to read over (and pray over) before I need to make a final decision.

It’s been a good day. And I’m excited. But I also need to hear God over this next week about making the decision that He would want. I kind of have a heart-feeling about where He wants me… But I also know that I long to make decisions based on His will, rather than be swayed by my own common-sense (or non-common-sense) emotion. So please pray.

I was talking to one of my non-Christian friends about all this yesterday and she just laughed and said, ‘I’m not really sure how people can doubt there’s a God when you start telling stories like this… It’s just all too much to be coincidence!’ So yeah… pray for her too 🙂

And thank You Holy Spirit, for always making a way. For remaining so faithful to me when I am so easily shaken. For knowing best.

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