“Prayer is not a replacement for action.”
This observation was made by my twenty-three year old son, Kenny, who is attempting to find his future. He is in the process of applying to medical school and, while he waits he is looking for a job, volunteering in a hospital, tutoring a teenager, and will soon start working with the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity one morning a week. Did I mention waiting? A lot of waiting. He prays too, but as he pointed out, not as a substitute for action.
Is your future dependant on your actions or on God’s response to prayer? Probably both. Do we chart our own courses, or does God plan our futures? Yes.
The student who skips class and never studies will not likely ace her test. The employee who is chronically late and lazy will probably lose his job. God doesn’t usually bail us out of the consequences of our own bad choices no matter how fervently we pray.
But, after we’ve done all we can, then what? Kenny’s grades were very good, his MCAT score was strong, he holds a master’s degree in bioethics and his work ethic is excellent. He is a solid medical school candidate. He’s one of tens of thousands of solid candidates competing for a very limited number of spots.
Can God arrange for his application to show up at the right place at the right time so that he emerges from the pack in a favorable light? Certainly. Will He do that? It is entirely up to Him.
So Kenny works hard to improve his resume, and we pray. Based on his observation quoted above, I believe he is learning quite a lot about life, himself and God while he searches for his next steps. Ultimately, I remain convinced that God is firmly in control.
What has been your experience? Have you charted your own course, or has God brought you into a future you never planned or anticipated?
“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21