God's Prayer Shelf

My mom reminded me of something Hannah* once said about God's prayer shelf:

"God has a special shelf where he puts our prayers. Then when it's time to answer them, he takes them down off the shelf, and he answers them."

Pretty profound for a just-turned seven year old.

At the time we were talking about how she prays every day for her "new family." The illusive something deep in her heart--a place to belong, a place to be loved, a place to be forever.

Knowing a family of her very own is the deepest desire of her heart, I was amazed at her wisdom and faith to believe God would answer her prayer at the proper time. And I silently prayed, Lord, answer her prayer soon, and if it's what is in your heart too, bring us together as a family.

This week God pulled one of my own prayers off the shelf.

A job.

Right at the moment when despair was beginning to settle into my heart. Right when I had run out of words to pray and could only trust the Spirit to interrupt my groans. Right when I was beginning to listen to my doubts and give them a foothold. That moment, He chose to pull down the prayer and provide a job.

And it's the job that is enough.

I'm not going to become ultra-rich off this job. But it will be a good job. A solid job where I can continue to help others and continue to do good.

It will be a job that will be enough for what I need right now.

And enough is, well, it's enough.

Wess Stafford the president of Compassion International often reinforces, "The opposite of poverty isn't wealth. The opposite of poverty is enough."

It's true. And it's true for what we all actually need.

We need enough.

We don't need more than enough. More than enough is nice. And those extra blessings of more than enough can often be what gets us through the day or gives us the extra burst we need.

But what we need is enough.

I'm reminded of the Israelites in the desert, instructed to take only what they needed of the daily delivery of quail and manna. Anyone who tried to hoard or save up, would find the extra portion rotted the next day. God was saying, Here is enough. You have to rely on Me for the enough.

And most definitely, the Israelites griped and moaned. We all would when we've been eating the same thing day in and day out for 40 years. I do it when I've been eating the same thing for a week. But the enoughness of the quail and the manna was a constant reminder of God's enoughness. Just as the little bit of oil and the little bit of flour were a reminder to Elijah and the widow.

Right now, I couldn't be more grateful for enough, and I know, really, this job is far more than enough. My heart swells with its more than enoughness.

It's as if I hear Jesus saying again "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable?...See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you?" (Matthew 6:25,28-30)

I'm so grateful for his enoughness and his provision of enough. And it makes me think seeking first his kingdom and his righteousness is partially about seeking the enoughness found only in God. It makes me want to seek more enoughness from the Author of enough.

What Hannah already knows and what the rest of us who are a little more battle worn and a little more pessimistic have forgotten is that those shelved prayers are waiting for enough. Waiting for the right time and the right enough. And if we can dig back into our faith and who we know God to be, the question is will we choose to believe Him for enough?


*Hannah is a pseudonym. In order to protect her identity until she is fully and legally mine, I use "Hannah" in all posts regarding my one day daughter and her adoption.