Perhaps no writing better expresses this reality than the prayer that was found in a deceased Confederate soldier’s pocket after a bloody Civil War battle.
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve;
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy;
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life;
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among all men most richly blessed.
I invite you to sit with, ruminate on, and pray this prayer. Allow Jesus to become the only object of your desire—the “one thing” you ask for. Welcome the circumstances that arrive in your life as the material God desires to use to help transform you. And take time to look back and notice that while you “got nothing” that you asked for, you gained everything you “hoped for.” Because only “one thing is necessary” (Luke 10:42).