“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,â€™ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20b
Have you ever wondered if certain things are off limits to pray about? Maybe not off limits, but are there inappropriate things to ask God? Or maybe you’ve wondered if some things are a waste of God’s time or attention to get involved with? I can understand this tension and I have a tendency toÂ over-thinkÂ much of my own prayer life.
About a year ago we moved into a new neighborhood. While the house has worked tremendously for our family, the problem has been one of our neighbors. Let’s just say they have a tendency to over-extend themselves. The picture above shows a regular trash day in our neighborhood. If you look closely you’ll realize that there are two bins on our side of the property. While this certainly isn’t a big deal, there have been times where I don’t have room to put my trash bin out, or we can’t get our vehicles out of the driveway, or our trash collector has commented to us that there isn’t enough space to collect our trash. This is the norm, not the exception.
Michelle and I have had plenty of conversations about this over the last handful of months but we’ve never been able to land on the right solution. We’ve brought it up to our neighbors but that hasn’t fixed the problem. I’ve considered moving it somewhere drastic (and then thankfully came to my senses afterward). I seriously have wrestled with how to live out my faith in such a small area of regular annoyance.
Then it got worse. They began to put their trash can out on Saturdays (our neighborhood collects on Tuesdays). Not only that, but they started putting it on the actual sidewalk in front of our house. See the picture below.
So now we’d have their trash can right in our face for four of the seven days of the week (then the blue bin is the next day). Suffice it to say that this didn’t lower our frustrations or the tension of finding a healthy way to address this. Michelle and I couldn’t agree on the proper solution to the problem so we continued to discuss it. Then one day she told me something that stopped the conversations.
“Every time I see their trash can on our side I’m going to pray for them.”
I told her that of course, that’s precisely what I was thinking as well.
In truth, I was convicted by the fact that this was a phenomenal idea that should have been implemented a lot earlier. Not to mention that I should have been the one to suggest this on behalf of our family. Being the spiritual leader of your family is a lot easier when you have a wife who is listening to the Spirit of God.
So she started doing that. Then the weirdest thing happened: they moved their trash.
I kid you not, we didn’t mention a thing to them and they did something they have never done since we’ve lived in this house. And they did it the first possible time right after my wife started praying about it. Coincidence? Here’s a pic to show the difference. You have to look down the street a bit to see their trash bin.
What’s my verdict? I think God moved in direct response to my wife’s prayers. I don’t think this means that we’ll never have an issue about this ever again, but I do think God is teaching us something through this process. It’s easy to follow God in the big, theoretical concepts. It’s far more challenging in the specifics of the every day.
Now we’ve got to make sure we continue to pray for them. Otherwise God may ensure that we have more reminders about it.
What’s something in your life right now that is either causing you stress, worry, or tension? Have you prayed about it? Try it and see what happens. God can move mountains… and trash cans.