Some nights I lie in bed and cry. I’m not trying to evoke pity because, if we’re honest, I think we all do this sometimes. And if we don’t, I think we certainly want to. Life is tough and tears happen.
Last night was one of those nights for me. My problems, though they be so much less than those others bear, still send me reeling sometimes. This week at work is going to be a super busy one with six or seven long days in a row. After this week is over, my work schedule gets really choppy and I don’t know where I’ll be or when yet. I need an internship for fall and, along with that, I need a car. And I’ve been biting my nails looking at my finances… Also this month, I’ve been having this really weird painfully sensitive skin problem that’s been moving around my body (yeah…weird…). And I’m tired.
Even though others go through much worse, at 11 pm last night, this just seemed like too much for me. In truth, I do think life is too much for me. And for you. God never intended us to run life on our own. So I lay in bed, pouring out tears and prayers, reminding my all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving God not to let me slip through the cracks (you can tell God anything, even if it might seem offensive or unholy. Heck, God knows it already. And he wants desperately to be there for you).
While it may not have been in the most stereotypical “old wise man on the mountain” wording, I once had a friend wisely tell me,”Girl, tell me one time when God has not provided for you. THEN you’re allowed to worry.”
The Lord provides.
This morning, when I awoke, I found a text saying I could come into work two hours later. I also found an email which said, “Keep me posted on the…internship. I wrote you a glowing recommendation, and I can’t imagine that falling through if you want it.”
Praise the Lord! Not because two hours off of work is going to fix all my problems. Not because a glowing recommendation is going to guarantee me the perfect internship. Not because I know have a car or won the lottery or have perfect health. But, among many other legitimate reasons, praise the Lord because he hears me. If the Lord of the universe is willing to offer encouragement, is willing to offer an “it’ll be alright,” is willing to show me in the simple ways that he hears my cries late at night, then I can rejoice wholeheartedly, even when I still have struggles.
God may not answer our prayers the way we want and he might not answer our prayers right away. But if he did, where would trust come in? There is beauty in a relationship where there is trust. To give me everything right now would be to flatten a relationship that has potential to be so many dimensions.
One could argue that these two encouraging occurrences are coincidences. One could argue that, because I want to see God, I’m making him up in places he’s not. To that, I have two responses. First, it goes both ways: if I spent my life trying not to see God, I could probably get away with that. It’s true that we see what we want to see. But it’s also true that, regardless of our individual perspectives, there is an actual truth, which leads to my second response: if I believe in a God of the universe who is really all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving, I wouldn’t put it past such a deity to provide simple encouragements–especially one who tells us to pray to him because he does hear us.
It was very encouraging to hear God this morning and be reminded that he loves me. But honestly, I know that pretty soon, life will swallow me again. I’ll spend another night in bed crying. But that’s because there is sin in the world, not because God has left me. And that’s why it’s so significant that we write down these moments where God is speaking to us–or we will forget. When we forget the ways God has talked to us in the past, when we don’t feel encouraged anymore, it’s easy to believe he doesn’t listen to our prayers. But faith is not a feeling.
I bet you don’t remember very vividly nor accurately the pain of having a skinned knee from when you were a child. But that doesn’t make it any less true that, as a kid, you did indeed skin your knee and it was terribly painful. So, in moments of fear and pain, don’t blow off those moments where you felt the Lord give you a comforting embrace. I encourage you to keep track of answered prayers and return to that when you need peace. Because God does hear your cries. And the Lord does provide. Let him encourage you in those moments and learn to rely on trust when you aren’t feeling his presence.
P. S. Since I wrote this post a few days ago, I was offered a position for an internship! 🙂