by Jonalyn Fincher
Garth Brooks, I’m also thankful for unanswered prayer.
But that does’t stop me from praying.
I pray with clear requests, expecting change in the world.
“God I need your help to find Finn a new babysitter. We need one soon. In order to not feel stressed about it I need to find one this month, so I can interview and give her time with Finn so the transition will be smooth. Make sense?“
To show him that I’m doing my share of the work, I began a sunburst of activity hunting, following up all my leads. With internal pressure building and caretakers turning me down, I am embarrassed to say I actually responded once to a very gracious, “No” with, “Can you pray about it?”
When caretakers didn’t call me back within 24 hours, I fretted. I called them twice a day. One, call her Andrea, I felt would work well, but I kept missing her call backs and would always get her voicemail.
GRRR! “God is this a sign? If so it’s very frustrating because I don’t have any other leads!“
Weeks pass, no answer to my prayer.
One Sunday, our current babysitter, Belinda, who we are losing soon, came over as Dale and I prepared for a Skype session. We’d set this up months ago.
Dressed in Sunday best, Dale and sat down in our living room, pray for clarity and love, cleared our throats, grabbed our notes and we were LIVE. Belinda was outside putting the finishing touches of sunscreen on Finn for a morning walk.
But something wasn’t right. As the screen showed the church in Dallas, the class was walking out right when we were ready to begin.
Groaning internally with frustration, we realized someone had converted the time zone difference backwards. We talked about rescheduling and signed off. That’s unanswered prayer number one: botched speaking opportunity.
Feeling rather let-down, I changed and in a moment of spontaneity ran down the walk to join Belinda and Finn for their walk. I felt like heaven pushed me away from my desk.
I had three hours to get caught up with emails and writing and I chose a walk instead. That’s unanswered prayer number two: I ask for time to get my work done and in this case I threw the time out the window and went on a walk.
I found myself sharing about Andrea and how much I wanted her to sit for us. Belinda was quiet enough that I started digging. Turned out Belinda knew Andrea. They had lived together in Seattle. I didn’t know either lived in Seattle. And I had no idea they knew each other.
Belinda shared a few highly pertinent details, things only a roommate would know. Things that cleared the dark glass of frustration. Stuff that screeched my eager wheels to a halt. Andrea would not be a good fit for Finn.
Unanswered prayer quickly morphed into an answered prayer for the end game: a good caretaker for my son.
I started over. Asked friends and, oh so uncomfortable, just waited. I still pray, “God find someone for us.”
A friend knew someone and asked her. I had to wait five days for the necessary introductions, explanations. Then, got her number.
She called me back the same day.
She’s come to our house, I’ve been to hers. She has lived in this area for years, she’s had three kids. She wants to be part of Finn’s life long term. My heart bubbles with relief when I think of her with Finn.
So I touch base with God.
God, I am grateful you never let me connect with Andrea. I’m sorry for my “GRRRR” attitude on several accounts, the missed calls, the skype event mistake which led me to a walk where you let me glimpse the why. Thank you for this mother who already loves Finn.
I believe prayer changes things, other people, Skype coordinations, meetings, attitudes. I believe prayer opens hearts, closes mouths, stops work, starts rest. When prayer changes me, I believe I’m witnessing a miracle.
Consider how often you want to change something about yourself and find it a Sisyphean task.
I want to change things in me and for years find myself unsuccessful. This is the working out salvation bit that I think God wants for us. He wants to accompany our work with his own. Grace is opposed to our earning, not our effort.
My specific, unanswered prayers have been a highway to transformation. So I still prayer specifically, less discouraged because God’s “No”‘s might mean “Yes” for what I really am looking for.
Photo credit: gregorynsmith.blogspot.com