Many years ago, I was very diligent about getting up early in the morning, reading my Bible, and praying. At the time, I did a lot of praying for my husband. I was praying that he would become the husband and father God wanted him to be. The husband and father I knew he could be. I thought this to be a very good prayer. A very unselfish prayer. I felt good about myself, that I was praying a good prayer.
One particular morning, as I was praying, my eyes were closed, and suddenly it was as though I was standing outside, looking through the kitchen window. The blinds had been pulled up and I could see RL and I sitting at the kitchen table, praying together. Then the blinds came slamming shut and I felt God ask me, "How bad do you want it?"
It's a really serious thing when God asks you a question. But it's even more serious to understand what He's asking you. Unfortunately, I thought He was asking me what it was I would do to persuade Him to answer my prayer. How good of a Christian was I going to be? In reality, what I didn't realize for several years, was that He was asking me if I was willing to love RL unconditionally. Could I let go of what I wanted for him and love him just as he is?
Oh, I love RL the way he is. I just knew he could be better; he had so much potential. I could see all God had put within him, but I couldn't accept him as himself. I was sabotaging my desire for RL to become all God wanted him to be, because I wasn't loving him the way God loves him -- just as he is. This made him feel as though he wasn't good enough. He felt unloved.
I learned two very important things from this (and, of course, I'm still working at it). First, we can't do anything to make God do wonderful things. He does wonderful things just because He loves us. Second, He wants us to love others the way He loves us -- unconditionally, just the way they are. These are so simple and yet so difficult to do. Sometimes it's even difficult to remember.