A couple weeks ago, Jonah, Abby and I were curled up in the living room chair flipping through channels on the tv before I put the kids to bed. We had about 30 minutes before bedtime and we landed on the always popular Discovery channel. No, I’m not being sarcastic. Given the choice, 8 of 10 times, my kids will choose to watch the Discovery channel over anything else. They love….no they LOVE Mythbusters. It’s my sweetie’s genes popping through.
But I digress.
Anyway, we flipped over to Discovery and caught the last few minutes of an ocean show where divers were swimming with giant turtles. These turtles were ginormous. Seriously. Diver guy was holding onto the back end of one of the turtles and he looked like a dwarf. So, of course, the kids immediately let me know that THIS was what they wanted to watch.
Well, we were all relaxed watching the giant sea turtle when suddenly the scene flips to the boat where a crew man starts saying that something large is appearing on the radar screen. Suddenly their yelling at the divers to get out of the water. Get out, Get out! The divers start swimming like mad to the boat. (I of course am scrambling to figure out where I put the blasted remote.) Out of nowhere, these giant sea monsters appear. The announcer kindly lets my children know that these are not friendly sea monsters, but carnivorous sea monsters who will eat anything they find. Thank you Mr. Announcer man. I appreciate that bit of info. Really.
Before I could find the remote, the divers made it back to the little air raft and climbed in. Ok, I think. It’s probably better that I didn’t find the remote because the kids saw that everything turned out ok. I start to relax when suddenly, the sea monster starts attacking the raft. Everyone dives out of the raft because they realize that the sea monster thinks the raft is a whale, or some such thing, and fortunately while the sea monster is attacking the raft, they are all able to swim back to the larger (and much stronger) boat. They head down below deck and fall asleep. Meanwhile, on deck, the radar screen shows not one, but about a dozen huge sea monsters appearing on the screen around the boat. We hear a loud ticking sound in the background as the show…ENDS!
And people, all of this happened within about 3 minutes. Seriously. It is taking me longer to describe the show than it took for them to show all this.
The point of all this is that Abby has now developed a very strong fear of the dark.
Since the show, Abby has been waking multiple times during the night crying because of her fear. We have tried many different things to relieve this fear including leaving extra lights on, closing her door, opening her door, praying with her, singing with her (Veggie Tales — God is bigger than the Buggy Man!), doing monster checks (A Daddy thing), everything we can think of. But nothing has helped.
Oi. Since this all began, my Sweetie and I have been praying with Abby and talking with her about how God is bigger than her fears and that he is watching over her and sending his angels to protect her. And we have been praying with her that God will give her courage and help her to not be afraid of the dark anymore.
And that’s all very well for Abby, but I realized about 4:00 this morning, as I was lying in bed listening to Abby cry after having just left her room, that although I was praying with her, in my mind, I was believing that this was too “silly” of a request to really take up God’s time with. Do you know what I mean? Do you ever pray to God without really engaging your mind in the conversation. Without truly believing that God is actively paying attention and preparing to answer the prayer? Well, that’s what I was doing. I was praying that my daughter would be filled with calm and peace and that she would no longer have this fear of the dark, but at the same time, I was listening to her continue to cry and I was thinking “Well, is she keeps crying, it’s not like I should really expect God to immediately answer such a silly prayer request. It’s not like I’m praying for someone’s salvation, or for something big.” I didn’t really believe that Abby would stop crying. I didn’t really believe that she would be released from her fear of the dark at that moment. I believed that in a couple of minutes, I would have to get out of bed and go continue comforting her.
And then I became aware of the thoughts that were contradicting my prayer. And I realized, that’s not the God I believe in. The God I believe in has told me that he has not given us a spirit of fear. Well, God, you said it, so it’s not silly for me to pray that for my daughter. It’s not silly!
But I have to say, it took one serious mental workout to pray for God to take away Abby’s fear of the dark immediately, without allowing those thoughts back into my mind. And to believe that God would do so, because His Word tells me that this isn’t just my desire, but that it is also His desire. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I made it through that prayer truly believing that God would immediately answer it. And within seconds, Abby quieted down. And she did not wake up again.
I don’t believe that God immediately answers all of our prayers, or that He always answers them in the way that we want. But I do believe that if I am praying for something that I know, that I really know He has promised me in His Word, then God expects me to pray that prayer with the belief that he will answer it.
Because it doesn’t take faith to pray to God if I do not expect him to answer me. That’s just lip service.
In short, God invaded my faithless prayer last night and convicted me to stop feeling like my requests are a waste of his time.
And this morning, I asked Abby if she felt like God gave her more courage last night and, instead of saying she was still afraid of the dark, as she has been, she said without hesitation, ”Oh. Yes, Mama!”