A friend of mine is coming over to my house today. She's bringing with her some olive oil. Not for cooking or bread dipping or salad-dressing making. She's bringing it to rub on my head and belly, to anoint me and to pray.
This is the kind of thing that three years ago would have made me roll my eyes and laugh at. Silly Christians, rubbing oil on their bodies, hoping for healing from some big man in the sky.
Now, I can't wait.
It has struck me lately that I've been much too passive in my prayer for Luke. Oh sure, I pray for him. Sometimes I even ask God to go ahead and heal him, fix up his heart, help him grow, keep him strong, deliver him healthy. But more often than not, I feel conflicted about asking. I guess it's like this -- I don't want to question God, and I don't want him to think I'm a big fat whiner. I want him to believe that I will accept whatever will be, and I assume that whatever will be will be what he wants. Talking with my friend last night, I realize this isn't really the way things should be.
As she pointed out, God likes to heal people. As she said, "Maybe he's just waiting for you to ask."
I opened up one of my library books last night. I've had it for a week but hadn't really gotten into it. It's called No Holds Barred by Mark D. Roberts, and it's about wrestling with God in prayer. With prayer on my mind, I decided to give the book a try. As I laid in bed, I flipped it open to a random page, where I read the follow subhead: Open Your Heart To the God Who Seeks the Real You. I continued reading, and this is what it said:
People often ask me why God wants us to make requests in prayer. If he knows what's best, they wonder, then why doesn't he just go ahead and do it? What's the point of his waiting for us to ask?
This is my issue. I think to myself, God knows what's best. Maybe what's best for Luke is for him to have these heart defects. Maybe something good will come of this. What's the point of me asking for things to be different?
I love when this happens. When you have something on your mind, and you read something that directly speaks to it. This certainly did that for me. The passage continued:
There is a mystery in supplication that exceeds our understanding. The Sovereign Lord, the One who is all-knowing, all-wise and all-powerful, has chosen to include us among his advisers. He not only listens to our prayers, he acts in response to them.
Why? Partly, I think, to remind us how much we need his help. If God automatically did what was right without us asking, we'd figure that the world simply works perfectly and that God is neither active nor necessary. Supplication helps us recognize our need for God and marvel at his power when he answers prayer.
As much as it pains me to think it, I think my failure to dutifully and expectingly ask God for Luke's health is a sign of weak faith. I guess I don't really expect him to answer. I don't put myself out there because I don't want to get my hopes up. The safest route is just to accept it and live with it. The courageous thing to do is to boldly demand God rise up and fix it and to believe that will truly happen.
At 35 weeks, it's pretty late to be having revelations like this, but I'd guess God is a big believer in the better late than never philosophy. And so, starting today, I'm going to ask like I've never asked before. I'm going to be anointed with oil that will protect and heal. I'm going to summon every spec of faith God's bestowed on me, and I'm going to ask for more to see me through. Instead of simply accepting the way things are, I'm going to ask God to change them. If he doesn't, then, OK. Acceptance after being rebuffed, turning that into a new source of love and faithfulness, that goes back to carrying our crosses.
But first, I want to make sure this is a cross I'm really meant to carry at all.