My default mode when I am stressed or overwhelmed is escapism, and usually my escapism of choice is watching TV shows on DVD. Currently I just finished season 2 of Mad Men and it's impressive how many episodes I can go through in a week. The girls at Family Video must think I'm one of those housewives who just stays in her sweatpants all day doing nothing. The sweatpants part is close to true, but I've mostly just been sleeping less and staying up late after Jonah is in bed. It's not that I don't want to face the stuff going on in my life; it's just that I come to a certain point where I want some good old entertainment to help me balance out the heaviness of the day. Yeah, some of my days feel pretty heavy lately. The dust has settled, the shock of our baby boy having a heart defect has worn off, and now Daniel and I are just trying to adjust to our expectations being chucked out the window while we wait, wait, wait for February 1.
I don't think there's anything wrong with my desire for occasionally forgetting my problems, but today when Jonah went down for a nap and my house was quiet, I stopped myself before settling down on the couch with the remote. Instead I thought maybe I should just spend some time being quiet and praying. For a long time I just sat there until I remembered an article about prayer Daniel had printed for me a few days ago that's been sitting on my counter ever since. He loved it and had encouraged me to read it and think about how I'm praying for our family and for Caleb. I expected to read something uplifting and instead, to be honest, I was kind of annoyed by the thing. The gist of the article was how most of the time when we pray, we offer up these pitiful, weak prayers of "whatever is your will, God" and we forget that God has called us to be His co-laborers, assigning us the task of helping Him to shape the world around us. The writer talked about how it's not so much laziness that keeps us from being more devoted to prayer, it's our subconscious belief that it probably won't make that much of a difference anyway. While I read his challenge to never accept the world around me as just the products of a broken and fallen world, I started to feel annoyed because that's exactly how I think when I'm trying to cope with life. It is WAY easier to accept things that come my way as long as I can believe that it's all God's plan. But when I am confronted with the possibility that some circumstances in our lives are NOT part of God's plan, and that He wants His people to intercede and petition Him to change the course of events, I have no idea how to proceed. How do we know what's what? How do we know it's a time to pray the prayer of faith, to believe for healing and miracles? How do we know when it's one of those seasons when God allows our pain to remain, to shape our hearts or give witness to His name? Right about now, you're wanting to insert a cliche, aren't you? "Our God can do anything!" "God wants to use your family!" Yeah, I know. And I know that probably what I'm supposed to do is pray for healing but trust Him and be ok if He says no. That sounds like the right answer. But from the article I read today, this guy was talking about not taking no for an answer, that we should wear God out with our prayers, like the story of the woman who petitions the judge for justice. Jesus talked about how our prayer life should resemble a woman who, knowing she has been wronged, goes to the same judge over and over and over until he is so tired of seeing her face that he gives her what she wants just so she'll leave him alone. Read the story, it's in Luke 18:1-8. How can I possibly pray like that? Where is the emotional energy to go to God, desperate and begging, over and over, stubbornly believing that He will grant me the answer I seek? It's so much easier to get going on the path of acceptance and thus healing. Luckily for the woman in the story, she eventually got what she sought. What if I don't? Can I handle that? Can I handle continuing to believe Caleb can be healed, only to find out at doctor appointment after doctor appointment that he is still sick? Where's the parable about that one, Jesus?
I decided that it was ok to tell Jesus I was annoyed with this particular truth today. I confessed I have no idea what the heck I'm doing, but that I really want to learn more about prayer. If he was willing to teach his disciples how to pray, surely he's willing to teach me, too. And he was; as I told him how conflicted I felt, he immediately gave me peace and calmness and reminded me that he cares about Caleb's heart, and he cares about mine too. I'm so glad I know a God who loves me and takes care of me even when I think some of His promises seem absurd. Help my unbelief, Lord. I know you're with me, I just don't know what you want me to do sometimes.