Praying for Failure?
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. Mark 10:25
It’s a little terrifying for me to consider where my life would be if I’d been able to keep my drug use a secret. If I’d been able to avoid the spiraling behavior of my addiction, and if no one had discovered it, I would have avoided painful consequences . . . and I’d still be using.
Whenever I meet someone who just decided one day to stop smoking – without any painful consequences – I’m a little amazed. Some people can just decide to quit. Most of us who’ve been addicted though, have required some painful impetus to change. It often requires jail, loss of a job, injury, or other noxious stimuli to convince us to do what it takes to abandon the thing that has enslaved us. As long as our addiction is working, we’re likely to continue in it.
This is the problem with our version of success. If our behavior isn’t causing us any obvious injury – even if it’s horrible behavior – we’re not likely to change. We follow our way for a reason. It does something for us. As long as we’re getting what we want out of it and we’re not suffering the consequences, it’s doubtful that we’ll choose the pain of transformation.
This is why Jesus said it was so difficult for the wealthy to find the kingdom of God. The self-sufficient man is fine on his own. He needs little and, in his success, he doesn’t truly need God. He may want God, but it’s hard for him to comprehend dependence on God, because dependence on self has worked so far.
The rich man, like me, often needs failure and pain to realize the futility of following self. Frequently, it takes the misery of consequence to make us understand our true need for God.
I don’t like praying for failure for another, but when I pray every morning for those who are still struggling with any addiction, I pray that God would do whatever it takes to draw them to him. I pray this knowing that it will likely require pain to awaken them from their spiritual slumber. God, just as you didn’t allow me to continue down my self-destructive path, please do whatever it takes to get a hold of them.