What might the following items have in common?
One of my husband’s size 15 tennis shoes
a children’s book about our beloved hometown university, Texas Tech
a wooden play guitar missing all of its strings
an entire fleet of miniature fighter jets
a pair mangled glasses.
All of these were items I cleared from #2’s bed when I checked on him on my way to my own bed one night. (Seriously. They could give this kid his own reality show. It could be a mix between Toddlers & Tiaras and Hoarding: Buried Alive!)
And to think how funny that little guy seemed…
until I got to the mangled glasses!
My son Brennan was four at the time and had been wearing glasses for about 6 months. To say that we went through frames quickly that first year would be a gross understatement. The pair I rescued from his two-year-old brother’s bed that night was, unfortunately, no exception. The ear pieces were grotesquely twisted and one lens had been dislodged.
Had I been an animated character in that moment, I probably would have most closely resembled one of the old Donald Duck cartoons. You know the kind, where he’s jumping up and down in frustration, his head rapid-fire changing different shades of red, stars flying. All you can hear is unintelligible squabble.
Once I regained composure and mentally re-scheduled the next day’s plans to allow for a rushed stop by the optometrist’s office, I went back to the boys’ bedroom to face Braden. True to his nature, he was still wide awake, but quietly observant as if he were unsure how to react to me. Just where I want him I thought. He’s scared. He has no idea what ‘s coming next. He just laid there expectantly and waited for me to make the first move. Smart kid.
I knew exactly what he wanted me to do- he wanted me to smile and hug him and tell him I wasn’t mad at him. But that wasn’t true and I simply stood there for a minute gathering my response. I think I must have said a quick prayer for the composure to stay calm. And for just a moment, my mind jumped back to a time when I found myself in a situation that felt similar to this one. I remembered a specific time when I looked expectantly to God, desperate to feel His smile and His arms folded around me in their secure embrace and His kind voice telling me everything was going to be okay. But He didn’t. I called out to Him, but He seemed to stand there, unmoved, much like I must have looked to Braden as he waited for me to react.
Undeniably, there are times when God doesn’t provide an immediate or direct response. We call out to Him, sometimes crying out to Him, and all we can hear are crickets chirping on the other side. We may feel frustrated; I felt abandoned, until I (much later) began to see the bigger picture. In those times, I think it’s beneficial to remember that we are in no position to return the silent treatment. The apostle Paul believed that some blessings are only the result of prayer. And well, if it ain’t broke…
So, God still wants us to speak with Him. We’re instructed to pray continually, even when He’s not honoring our limited, human time- frame. We’re still expected to communicate and listen -and to wait expectantly so our hearts will be ready for His reply. I learned from my experience that even though God is silent at times, He is not necessarily inactive.
Braden watched me. In my silence, I was taking the moment to make sure I was comfortable with how I was about to handle the situation. I think I could give myself a pat on the back for how it played out. I played the Stern Parent Card but ended the conversation with hugs and “I love yous.” I wanted the last interaction we had that night before I exited the room to include prayer. I knelt down next to his little toddler bed, his scrawny little hands cupped in mine. No sooner had I gotten the words “Dear Father” out of my mouth, when Braden piped up, “No, mama. I want to say it!” Ever the voice of independence, Braden insisted on leading the prayer himself. I forced myself to close my eyes knowing that he wouldn’t dare start while I was looking at him. But boy, did I want to watch!
We sat there for a few moments and I heard a few short starts, like he didn’t remember exactly what he was supposed to say.
After another brief pause, he let out this loud sigh and finally chanted, “God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food”
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
… in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.