Certain aspects of parenting can leave me depressed, angry, worried, and afraid. So I pray. And pray. And pray. And pray.
In three out of the four primary situations this year, I’m still praying.
That doesn’t feel like success. In fact, I’m pretty sure 25% is an abysmal score on most grading scales.
This was my thought process as I sat at the end of a child’s bed in the middle of the night, still praying. Almost immediately, I was reminded of the various different kinds of miracles Jesus performed.
Sure, there was the whole water-into-wine thing, which was pretty instantaneous. And the feeding 5000 with only a few fish and loaves of bread. That was a quick answer as well.
But others—such as the woman with “an issue of blood,” the many blind people, the leper, the invalid, the shriveled hand, the demon-possessed man who couldn’t speak, and the other demon-possessed man who couldn’t speak or see—surely came from prayers that spans years, even decades.
These are amazing miracles! And yet, I can find myself discouraged by how long they took…
Cue Veruca Salt.
So here I am, next to a child with trauma much too deep for someone her age, trying to make sense of it all.
A Cannanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”Matthew 15:22
This woman, like so many of us, was seeking an answer to a problem that had plagued her family for a while. I’m certain this wasn’t the first time she cried out on her daughter’s behalf.
In Scripture, just six verses later, she gets her miracle.
Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.Matthew 15:28
It sounds instantaneous—at that moment—although anyone who has prayed these types of prayers knows it was anything but.
Jesus said it took great faith.
Father, God, have mercy on me! I don’t feel like my faith is great, but my child is suffering terribly!
Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”Matthew 17:20
When I read that verse, I can get even more frustrated. I am a person of faith! Why can’t I move the mountain of trauma affecting this kid! Or the mountain of paperwork and red tape that seems to block another one from healing! Or the mountain that leaves one in a group home…
But what if the mountain is actually my heart? What if faith-the-size-of-a-mustard-seed is what moves that mountain across the finish line?
We know that nothing is wasted in God’s economy. So, what if… the miracle we need is actually the one that comes not instantaneously but through endurance?
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.2 Thessalonians 3:3
I know this is true. I’ve seen it happen in my life. And yet I’m still not there yet…
Protect my heart, Lord, from the temptation to give up and to think you aren’t with us in the waiting.