It's 4:40 am and I'm eating a bowl of honeyed cheerios. I haven't slept. I've spend the past 4 1/2 hours turning and turning (but not tossing. I haven't been tossing anything up in the air or to anyone. Where in the world did that phrase come from anyway?) Not too long ago I had a similar night to this one, and now I feel the need to blog about it. Because it was sort of a momentous occasion for me.
That day I sat at the kitchen table and wrote the first honest thing to God that I've said in months. It went like this:
I think I'm forgetting how to trust you. I think I doubt your love. I'm not sure why . . . maybe it has something to do with growing up and seeing more of the bad in the world? The older I get, the more uncertain I become that you have a plan for everything and everyone. I've begun to believe that you don't step in as often--that more often than not we're left to the consequences of our own sin and choices. Is this a hazard to my faith? That I don't expect miracles? Or that I don't pray believing you'll answer in the way I want? My prayers have become so small.
So that night I woke at 1 am, wide awake, with nothing to think or do. It clicked in me like a light bulb to start reading Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz again. It's one of my favorite books and it had been awhile since I read it. I took it to bed and switched on my headlamp so as not to disturb Jonathan, and then I ended up moving to the kitchen table. Finally, at page 86, back in my bed again, God's love took hold of me in one of the most powerful ways it ever has. This is what I read: "Self-discipline will never make us feel righteous or clean; accepting God's love will. The ability to accept God's unconditional grace and ferocious love is all the fuel we need to obey him in return. Accepting God's kindness and free love is something the devil does not want us to do. If we hear, in our inner ear, a voice saying we are failures, we are losers, we will never amount to anything, this is the voice of Satan trying to convince the bride that the groom does not love her. This is not the voice of God. God woos us with kindness, he changes our character with the passion of his love."
Ever since that night, I've been praying more. And I tell you, God has been answering the funniest little prayers. Last week I went to the library and was told that I returned a DVD without its disc. The library woman graciously checked it back out to me so that I could take it home and find the disc, but when I went home, it wasn't anywhere, and I prayed it would be at the library so I wouldn't have to pay £15 for a DVD I didn't want. After a few days I went back and explained to another woman that I couldn't find it, and lo and behold, it was filed in another case.
The other night, Jonathan made a mistake while restoring his iPhone, so that he thought he lost all of his data, including his sporadic notes he takes every day. He prayed that he would get it all back, and suddenly, without explanation, his iPhone restored from nothing.
On Friday I prayed for my parent's safe driving to Seward and back to Denver (to take my brother Andrew to college for the first time). Today they told me that they went to a mechanic when they got back, and he said their tires and ball bearings should not have carried them safely all the way home. But they made it safely and without any accident, praise God.
So, maybe these prayers don't stop wars or global warming or world poverty, but maybe it means enough to Him that I start believing that prayer changes the world--and me. Maybe that's why he sent the little miracles that I told him I didn't believe in anymore.
I know one thing and it alone changes me: I am loved.