As a designer there is often a question as to what it is exactly that I provide. Am I in the goods industry? Am I in the service industry? Or both?
I recently had a client who got very confused about this. The job was offered to me and I accepted – why turn down work? After some mild confusion about what the client was actually asking for, I managed to get to work and was quite sure, after several hours spent on the piece, that the client was getting exactly what they were asking for. I was wrong.
A day or two later, out of the blue, the project was cancelled. Another day goes by and the client requests a refund from me saying he didn’t get what he wanted.
Refund? I sent a note back to the client kindly explaining that, first of all, he never paid me a single cent – there is nothing to refund and, two, I’d already spent several hours working on something that looked a heck of a lot like the images he said he liked. Even if I had been paid, I would not be inclined to refund for what he deemed to be a defective product.
What is the point in all this (other than a mildly amusing story)? It got me thinking. How often do we show God a picture of what we want and say “I want something just like this!”? You see something you want and you ask. And if you don’t get what you want, you ask God for a refund. For something else that suits your fancy.
Ask, and God will give it to you.
Search, and you will find.
Knock, and the door will be open for you.
~ Matthew 7:7
I’m quite certain that this is not what God is referring to in Matthew. I’ve learned that our relationship with God is much like a designer/client relationship. Communication is key. You are the ignorant client who sees the final product in his head, but has no idea how to convey that to the designer. God is the designer who knows how to get you the final product you need that, while it may or may not quite match up to what you have in your head, it will suit your needs better than you imagined!
At every available opportunity, I try to take the time to educate my clients. I let them in on my process. I tell them how the project will work start to finish. I ask for their input at certain stages. I give them choices to make. I ask them to put their trust in me as a trained professional and 99% of the time, the end result is better than what they imagined.
So why don’t we do this with God? Why do we make impossible demands on Him and then stomp off if we don’t get exactly what we want when we want it?
Then the man said to me, “Daniel, do not be afraid. Some time ago you decided to get understanding and to humble yourself before your God. Since that time God has listened to you, and I have come because of your prayers. But the prince of Persia has been fighting against me for twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the most important angels, came to help me, because I had been left there with the king of Persia.
~ Daniel 10:12-13
Could you imagine what this conversation might have looked like if Daniel had given up on day 2? That angel may have told Daniel to be very afraid after he’d been left fighting the prince of Persia with no end in sight. Here, though, Daniel took the time to get understanding. He knew what he was asking God for and was in a position where he could be heard.
Let’s stop asking God for refunds on our ignorant, selfish prayers and let’s start with getting understanding and putting ourselves in a position to be heard. And then, don’t give up! Just because you don’t get the result you wanted immediately, doesn’t mean the answer is not on the way.