THOUGHTS ON PRAYER: A WING AND A PRAYER
My oldest son, Connor, is getting married in 6 weeks. Consequently, I have been reminiscing over the soon to be three decades of his life. Connor is a loyal friend, witty, smart, friendly, handsome, and a man of faith. (I am not biased. I am his mom.) Faith, it seems, has always come easy for him.
When Connor was seven, Chad’s, a neighbor, beloved cockatoo flew the proverbial coop. Chad’s mom was cleaning the bird’s cage. The bird saw the opportunity for freedom and seized the moment. Connor came home, related the jail bird’s story, and wanted to pray. He did not want to pray God would comfort Chad or his mother. He did not want to ask our Lord to provide his friend with another bird. No. Connor wanted to beseech his heavenly Father to bring Chad’s beloved feathered friend home. I tried to explain God is good but, he doesn’t always answer in ways we would like. We have to trust He knows best at those times. These were the logical thoughts of my adult rational mind. However, when I tried my best to communicate this to my seven-year old son, my heart-longings came in direct conflict with my rational mind. The truth I was sharing with Connor regarding the odds of finding that bird was rubbing up against the faith I was finding in the sky blue eyes of my son… my son whom I love. My son, whom I wanted to know his God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we could ever ask, hope, or think (Ephesians 3:20). I wanted him to know even if He doesn’t answer the way we want; He is still good (Daniel 3:12-30). What to do?
I prayed, as Connor requested. I asked the Lord to find Chad’s bird and bring him home. It was not a faith-filled prayer. But God, I do love that phrase-answered. One week later, Connor came home to tell me Chad’s cherished bird had been found. Huh? How?
With the matter-of-fact-faith of a child, Connor related his God story: Mr. Dennis, another neighbor, was on the campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). (A little background: UAB is a large teaching hospital and university in downtown Birmingham, AL, USA. It encompasses 83 city blocks, if memory serves me correctly. It is massive. There are several parking decks, in addition to parking lots and street parking to accommodate its students, employees, guests, and patients.) Anyway, Mr. Dennis had parked his car in one of those decks. Upon returning to his car, he found a cockatoo perched on the roof of his car. What are the odds of finding a cockatoo on the roof of anyone’s car on a campus spanning 83 city blocks? This wasn’t just any cockatoo, however. This was Chad’s bird. Chad, Mr. Dennis, and my family lived 17.2 miles south of UAB. So, let me ask that question this way: what are the chances of finding Chad’s bird, 17. 2 miles north of its home, on top of Mr. Dennis’ car in one of several parking decks within an 83 city block area, one week later? My faith was smaller than 1/8th of a mustard seed when I prayed one week earlier. Thankfully, my faith did not rest in my ability to pray but, rather, in the One who is able to do exceedingly beyond ALL we could ever ask, hope, or think.
Recently, I asked Connor if he remembered this story. He did. I looked into those same faith-filled sky blue eyes and knew he never doubted his heavenly Father would find his friend’s prized bird.
May the God Who is able, El Shaddai, grant you and me, eyes of faith, hearts to believe, and the mind to know He is the God who is more than enough for our needs. He can fill in the gaping holes of our faith. He can do exceedingly and abundantly above all we can ever ask, hope, or think just because He loves us. Oh, and He is the One, True, and Living God…Creator of heaven and earth and all that they contain.