|The countdown is on.|
I was successful in avoiding housework one day a while back by wasting most of the pre-girls-getting-home afternoon hunting a simple third-party code for a countdown clock to put on this site. I wanted to have a subtle visual reminder for blog visitors of Eli’s first upcoming post-treatment MRI. I found one that I couldn’t get sized right; then I found one that I couldn’t get the clock to count down from the correct date; then I found two that wouldn’t load at all; then I found one that I could manipulate elements only to find out when I entered the code it also wouldn’t work. So, finally by 1454 hours, I had found a simple, plain countdown clock. It is exactly what I wanted. I got it loaded and working. I sat back in satisfaction of my success and read “52 days.” Oh, my, that’s all. I loved the simplicity and subtleness of the clock, but upon reading the time my eyes suddenly locked on the numbers, the text overtook the screen, the neon green burned my retinas and it screamed at me “52 Days”. That’s it, that’s all, 52 days! Only 52 days until we know if the sky is holding, falling, or crushing. Only 52 days until I know if I am watching Eli play and laugh while a monster kills him from the inside out. Only 52 days until I stand toe to toe with Satan-again. I suddenly hated the clock on which I had willingly wasted so much time. But, it served my purpose, it provided the information, it was exactly what I wanted.
A common lesson through many fables and stories that are centuries old even is to be careful for what you ask. I think sometimes one thing that makes prayer so hard is being honest with ourselves about what we want. God says through the inspired writer Luke that if we keep asking we will get that for which we have asked. But, what is it that we really want, for what exactly are we really asking. To illustrate this, here is an example of what could be a face to face conversation between God and me. “So, Kristie, tell me what is it that you want,” God asks. “Well, Father, I want Eli to be healed completely, grow up to be a legendary football player, a cancer-curing doctor, a devoted husband, a loving father, a spiritual leader in his community and have a home in heaven with you,” I answer with pride and confidence. “No, tell me what it is that you really want,” He asks again. “Ok, well, Father, I want Eli to be healed completely, be happy, lead others to you and have a home in heaven,” I answer with hope. “No, I want to know what it is that you actually, really want,” God asks again. “Ok, well, Father, I honestly ask that Eli lead others to you and have a home in heaven,” I answer with fear. “Done,” God says in 1 John 3:22. Because when I peel away the layers of this world, and am faced with the heart of it all, it is a simple want that has been answered just as God says in the Bible it would be. The Bible is very clear that God hears the prayers of believers and gives them that for which they ask according to His will. Obviously, I can’t pretend to be any kind of biblical scholar, because anything I write would give me away pretty quickly, so, please feel free to disagree, highlight discrepancies or inaccuracies. I’ve been trying to study prayer because I believe it to be a tool given to us to use when we are faced with trials. And, I mean “when”, not “if”.
I can’t seem to find anywhere in the Bible that hints at the possibility of anyone cruising through this earthly life without feeling Satan’s touch. The inspired writers Peter and James tell their Christian readers “when” they face trials, and Jesus is recorded by John as saying to His followers “In the world you will have tribulation.” Paul tells the Christians at Corinth that God will provide a way of escape for them to endure their trials. One of those ways, I think, is a tool called prayer. A tool is used to complete a task or make something happen. But the user of any tool, in order to use it properly and successfully, must be trained in the use of said tool. God didn’t just hand us this powerful instrument and say “Good Luck.” He gave us a simple training and instruction manual for prayer through inspired writings that are compiled in a book that we call the Bible. The Bible tells us the who, when, where, what and how of prayer. Specifically, in our case, I believe the use of prayer is of no less importance in Eli’s survival than surgery or any of his treatment. I have no doubt he will not survive this without the proper, constant, pounding use of this tool. Using a tool to complete a task is work. In the letter to the Corinthians that I mentioned above, it says in chapter 10 that a way will be provided for our escape so that we may endure the trial. It says “endure”, in other words, it’s going to take a while. It’s work! Wield prayer, just as the boy David did with his simple slingshot against the giant. Prayer is much like that slingshot in that it is not a complicated tool, simply made, but still David had to know how to use it in order for it to work effectively and then used it aggressively. The Bible says that David “ran quickly toward the battle line.” David used his tool expertly, intently, and aggressively giving God the glory for the power behind it. Prayer is simple, and often times casually shared almost like a cordial greeting, but its power is not to be underestimated or under appreciated. I hope that each of you is able to take ownership in Eli’s success for your work and comprehend the weight of your prayer activity in his life particularly, but the reach of which we may never know on this side of creation.