About that widow and the faith that rests

Categorized as Uncategorized

Yesterday, I wrote on prayer. When I teach on this, it’s common that someone will raise their hand and say, “But what about the widow who got the answer because of her dogged persistence?”

That is a fair question.

In the story that I told you yesterday, when God told me to stop praying, he told me to start something else–to start thanking him for what he WAS ALREADY DOING. He saw that I was praying frantically, mouthing the same repetitious pleas over and over as Christ warned against, from a place of doubt and not faith. And therein lay the key.

Somewhere in that time period, as our son was continuing to self-destruct, I had been praying (see “frantic prayers” reference) that God would keep him out of jail, for I knew that jail was a very real possibility for him.

A friend stopped me cold. “We cannot pray like that,” she said, “for it may be the very thing he needs.”

The truth of her words pierced me like an arrow, and when I hung up the phone, I knelt by the couch and, through my tears, I said, “God. If it is possible, let this cup pass from me, but if it’s not, then I trust you.” I meant every single word.

Meanwhile, I found myself in an exhaustion so profound that I still can scarcely describe it. I had spent my entire life in pursuit of perfection, trying to please a God who seemed to be un-please-able. A harsh, angry judge. Decades of religious activity, including prayer, Bible reading, working to generate greater faith, etc., etc., had stripped me dry, and I could no longer do it.

“I’ve got you in my lab,” I told the Almighty. “I want to know how prayer works, and I want to know THAT it works.” And he began to teach me.

Back, now, to the persistent widow and this exhausted and terrified mother.

I finally settled on two core “asks” for my kid. Which were these: “Do not let him die by his own hand or anyone else’s. Do not let him harm or kill anyone else.”

I could not bear to pray them every day or even every week. Every once in awhile, I would merely raise my eyes to the sky, holding up my two fingers. “My two ‘asks.'” That’s all I would say, if I said anything at all, and I would remain in peace.

When he was eventually homeless, “My two ‘asks.'” When he was incommunicado and I had **no way to prove that he was alive, up went the two fingers and the trusting gaze. When my husband went to search for him in a hot and awful place with no success, even then, “My two,” and ONLY when I wanted to.

The peace in which I walked during those final months of his hellish journey was supernatural. By that point, I had practiced trusting God for so long that it had become natural for me. My connection to God and his to me was so very strong that I had no need for many words. I simply knew that I was in him and he in me, and we lived together, walked together, ate and slept and cried and laughed together, and in all of it, I felt the greatest joy and peace.

Our son returned. From the far-off country where he’d dwelt with the swine, he returned, and when he came back, he found a father and a mother of much greater faith, much greater peace, and much greater wisdom.

That is my story. No one and no thing will ever shake me from it. I never want to return to the old place of striving and torment. I have no need, for I have found the true God.

Warmly offered,

America’s small, caffeinated mom whose coffee is hot and fresh today

**Even though I couldn’t prove it, I knew in my heart that he was still alive. I never did doubt that and in time, my faith became sight.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *