God didn’t answer my boyfriend prayer the way I wanted Him to

Apr 4, 2011Family Uncaged, Find joy today, Heal from the past

I recently re-read a section of Thin Places where I pine (in high school and college) for a boyfriend. My constant prayer is “God, give me a boyfriend.” Embarrassing, I know.

Here’s an excerpt:

I pine for a boyfriend. I ache for one like a thirsty dog pants for water. It’s obsessive.

Hunting for “Bob” populates nearly every page of my high school and college journals. He’s on every prayer request list I write. I pray about Bob, for Bob. Every single man I meet I size up for boyfriend potential. I have a thousand crushes, most leading nowhere. Bob is everywhere, but he doesn’t seem to notice me.

While this wreaks havoc on my self-esteem, I see now how God’s firm answer of “no” is the most beautiful thin place of my life. In those times of wrestling with Him over His debilitating no, I see how very much I need Him, and how quickly He’d be replaced by Bob. And if I tell myself the truth, I know way down deep that I will place Bob on the throne of my life. Couple that with the rape at five and my gaping need for a father, I see God’s severe mercy on my life during those years. So many with similar upbringings walk a painful path of sexual impurity. If I look myself in the mirror, I see my own potential to sin. … I ache for me back then, how tethered I am to male attention. And really, it all falls back on my desire to be held and comforted as a parent would comfort. I placed on men the insufferable burden of becoming my parents—shoes no man should fill.

Even though I plead and cry and hope, God, in His sovereign kindness, holds all the Bobs far, far away for a long, long time. In college when I meet a man who I nearly place on the throne, God graciously severs the relationship, leaving me licking my wounds and asking all sorts of whys. For two years, I flounder in bewilderment, only to realize, finally, that I don’t want to live my life for any Bob. I want to live for Jesus.

{holy pause}

I’m back.

I’m so utterly grateful God didn’t answer my boyfriend prayer the way I demanded him to. And as I reflect on it, I realize afresh that God doesn’t grant me all my wishes. Thankfully! Had I had instant success when I wrote my first book, what kind of crazy woman would I be today? If I’d had only a smooth, easy life as a mom and wife, how would I ever need to trust God?

My question for you: What is your boyfriend prayer right now? Can you take a moment to see beyond your perceived favorable answer and begin to see the wisdom of God in not answering it quite the way you want? Look back on your life and marvel at how God didn’t answer some of your prayers the way you wanted Him to. Are you thankful for that? Why or why not?