Monday, July 9, 2012

A Prayer In the Life

I asked God the other day for protection.

You remember the Dog Story?
I haven't seen those dogs again since that day...but I'm still parking my car in the same area.
(These are the mobile storage units they think the dogs were getting into in bad weather)
And that means I still walk along that route twice a month.  I do my best to make sure I get in at a decent hour so I don't have to walk past these landmarks in dwindling light.
(This is where they were sleeping that night...this is where they came from that next morning)
This last time I walked, I was flying TO work on July 5th.  That means I had to find a plane ticket for the day after a major national holiday, and all the flight schedules were kinda my only real option put me at the airport well after the sun went down, and I had to do The Walk in the dead dark.  I'll tell you, my heart was in my throat.  From the time I stepped off the plane until way after I drove off the airport property, my breath was coming in gasps, and I was talking to myself in a higher voice than normal.

Well, I wasn't actually talking to myself...I was trying to talk to God.  The conversation went like this:

"Lord protect me, please protect me."

Gasp, gasp, was that a noise?  Oh, only an 18-wheeler.

"I know all things work together for the good of those who believe, and I do truly believe that, but really I'm not sure I really want that kind of goodness."

He's not a tame lion.  I bet the lions' den felt like this...those kiddy pictures with Daniel looking all serene and beatific are a crock of BS.

"Lord please, please protect me."

Keep up a scan, but don't be looking all over the place, you look frightened, like a victim!

"Peace, Lord, peace and protection.  Please."

Breathe, you have to breathe normally.  Gasp.  Breathe.  Giggle.  Why the heck are you giggling?  Giggle.  I should be the star in an action movie.  I'm ready for my 'hiya!'

"Peace and protection...I know I sound like a broken record..."

Keys, door, throw bag in passenger side, crawl through to driver's side, lock the door.

Head on steering wheel.  When did I get so out of breath?

"Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you for your protection.  Increase my faith.  Thank you."

And when I finally pulled out onto the road, "- Lord, why do you want me to pray for things you already know I need?"

Because you don't know what you need until you ask Me.  Plus, I get to talk to you.

**Instantly my head was filled with the image of a 3yr old child, scared to death, running to her mom with arms outstretched.  I could simultaneously feel the child's terror, an in-flowing of comfort, and the mother's swell of tenderness and outpouring of love.  Then the picture changed, and I felt the heartbreak of the mom whose child somehow needed no protection and refused to seek comfort from her.  A 3yr old who angrily pushes the arms away, so obviously needy, the mother so helpless to help.  Her longing was almost palpable in my imagination.

You know, I've had that thought before, the "why pray for things when He already knows better than you what you really need?"  But the answer this time was so complete and so instant...the pictures, I mean.  I'm still not sure the words weren't my own "correct" answer, but the images and the rush of emotions attached to them...I think I got an actual answer.  It would be like Jesus, wouldn't it?  To answer a direct question with a story?  Poetic.  Wrenching.

It would be so nice to have a great moral at the end of this piece.  Something elegant to wrap my story in...does it mean that I'm not a real writer if I feel no motivation to find that elegant piece of ribbon to tie it all together?  Cause I don't.  I guess I just wanted to share this: I talked to God, and He answered me.  Not "He answered my prayer by granting me safety," but He actually answered a flat-out question, the kind every kid asks..."why?"  And I feel astonished for three reasons:
1. God doesn't answer questions, cause this is all need-to-know, and you only need-to-Trust (wow, didn't realize I was so cynical, didjya)
2. I "know" God is personal, and I know He speaks in pictures, but I thought they were complex, theological, gold-framed pictures, not scribbles on bar napkins.  And I feel like that's what He gave me here.
3. I thought hearing God's voice would banish all fear and quiet my heart...but I'm still really, really nervous about walking to my car at the end of this hitch.  Still.

So this is my story for today.  I hope it finds you well.  I miss you, my family, but look for an email from me soon, and expect to see me in just a little while!


  1. hey this is dad .. . thanks so much for writing. I really appreciated your honest and heartfelt words. . . . compelling and true as to a horribly difficult incident and your walk with ...your wrestling with...your limping toward and with Him. I am so sorry for what happened to you. you can be sure that the Evil one would have you blame Him, harden your heart and just move on in "life" vs finding LIFE Him. I miss you. Talk this weekend?? Love DAD

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Heidi! Looking forward to seeing you soon :)

  3. Hi Heidi,
    Thanks for all the is totally different from what I imagined. And I really appreciated your wrestlings. It's such a powerful experience when all the senses and emotions are running at such a high have God so obviously step into your life...for YOU!
    Can't wait to see you soon!
    Love, MOM


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