Sometimes, when I pray and get the answer I\’m hoping for, I tell myself it was a coincidence.
Lame, I know.
Why pray if, when it\’s answered, you write it off, right?
Here\’s an example:
About a month ago, Richard was on a trip to the Jung|e and I was at a beach house here in Brazil–suffering for Jesus–with some new friends.
One night, I was particularly tired. Elliott had been extra, shall we say, \”passionate\” that day and Raegan, while a very good baby, was still waking up during the night for feedings.
It was about 2am and I had just laid Raegan back down to sleep when…. she got the hiccups.
This may not seem like a big deal, but I knew from experience that these would keep her awake for at least 15 minutes and then I\’d likely have to bounce her back to sleep for another 15 or so.
At 2am, that\’s just not on my things-I\’m-excited-to-do list.
So, I prayed. As petty as it seemed, I prayed. Something like, \”Lord, please–PLEASE–make these hiccups go away so I can sleeeeeeeeeeeeeep.\”
[There was admittedly some desperation sprinkled in there.]
What\’s funny? Before I had finished praying, the hiccups where gone and she was out like a light. Slept the rest of the night, too.
Again, may not seem like a biggie, but when this baby girl gets hiccups, they last a good 10-15 minutes. This had been less than a minute. That has never happened before.
Even in my foggy brain so early in the morning, I thought, \”Really? Just like that, they\’re gone? Must\’ve been a coincidence.\” And then I slipped off into dreamland.
The next morning, I remembered the incident and thought through it again.
Was it a coincidence? Does God really care if I get sleep? Aren\’t there more important things He has to deal with like the teenage girl who gave birth to a baby and had nothing for her that I had heard about earlier that same day? God is so much bigger than my sleep deprivation issues! Coincidence it was.
Then a thought hit me:
I\’m not magnifying God by thinking He doesn\’t care about the little things in my life. I\’m actually making Him very, very small.
Here\’s what I mean:
If God isn\’t big enough to care about the details of my life, how big does an issue have to be for Him to care about it? And does God have to divide up His \”time\” to make sure the \”most important\” things are taken care of in the world first?
Yes, I need sleep to survive… but there was a girl who gave birth to a baby and had nothing for her.
Yes, it was hard for this girl to give birth with nothing… but there are children starving around the world.
Yes, there are children starving around the world… but there are also children being sold as sex slaves.
So, how does God prioritize what He cares about?
What I\’m saying is this:
We serve such a BIG God that He can care about the seemingly insignificant things in my life, while simultaneously taking care of the needs of the dying, destitute, lonely, hungry, hurting, tired, lost, and broken all around the world.
He doesn\’t have to prioritize. He can meet all of our needs, all the time, in the best way possible.
At the same time, God is not a genie in a bottle. I certainly don\’t think that He answers all of our prayers just how we want them. Trust me, if that were true I would get a full night\’s sleep every night!
Of course there are needs much greater in this world than my sleep. I could list a million of them right here!
But the point is we serve a BIG God. He loves us. He knows our needs. He hears our prayers. He knows the number of hairs on our head for goodness sake (Matthew 10.30)!
So now I find myself praying more detailed prayers. Things that, before I would have written off as \”unimportant\”, I pray them. Because I know that, even though they may not be answered the way I would like, I have a Father in Heaven who is listening (Ps 145.18) and loves me because I am His child (Ephesians 1.5-6), created in His image (Gen 1.27) for His glory (1 Cor 10.31), and He will answer them according to His perfect plan (Rom 8.28).
Who knows? Maybe He answers my \”small\” prayer for rest to use me to answer someone else\’s prayer for a listening ear from someone who is fully engaged (hard to do when you\’re exhausted!)
\”Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond ALL that we ask or think according to the power that works in us–to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.\”
Ephesians 3.20-21 (emphasis mine)