“Lord, teach us to pray…” Luke 11:1
As I sat on the curb in tears, the babies ate lollipops in their stroller, oblivious to my drama. I was locked out of my car. It was utterly ridiculous. I used the clicker to lock it when we went into Physical Therapy for one of the children to receive treatment. It worked fine. Now, nothing. The car will not respond. I had pleaded with the car, the clicker, and God, “PLEASE just unlock!” The temperature was right at 100 degrees. I was tired, hungry and sweaty. I just wanted to go home. Justin was in a meeting, so I was left with no choice but to sit and wait for him to receive my text, “I am stranded.”
It would be a while.
I flipped open my IPhone to look at Facebook. First there are some cat videos, two or three people had posted threats that if I didn’t repost or like their attachment my dog would die, and I would never win the lottery. Next there’s an update about funeral arrangements for a friend’s only child. He was killed by someone texting and driving. The driver, a young girl, had died too. Immediately under that grievous post an acquaintance posted this:
PRAYER WARRIORS: ON YOUR KNEES! As you all know, we are in Disney for our annual family vacation. I should be more seasoned, we come every year, but I bought new Borne sandals. I have a terrible blister on my heel, and I am asking everyone to please pray our vacation isn’t spoiled by this attack from the enemy.
There were several comments: “Bless your heart,” and, “Oh no!” and, “Praying really hard for you!”
It’s not an unreasonable request… I guess. On the other hand, go to first aid and get a Band-Aid? And before the haters chime in, “What if this was the family’s Make-a-wish trip for their terminally ill child?” I can assure you, it wasn’t. My nephew had a Make-a-Wish trip to Disney, part way through the day, when people were indignant that he was wheeled to the front of the line, a family member swung around and barked, “Maybe you can cut in line when you have a brain tumor?” And a shouting match broke out.
That’s a post for another day. So here I sit, I just prayed to get into my car. I guess you’d say I prayed “REALLY HARD.” I really do want in my car, the babies are starting to fuss, no response from Justin yet. But truly, it’s not that bad. I am not at my son’s funeral. Eventually, I will go home, to a lovely, comfortable home, and then I spot her. A woman and four, stair-step children. Younger than mine. She is waiting for the bus, and her babies are in utter revolt. If I thought I was hot and miserable – I was wrong.
At least I have a car.
And, I have some extra suckers. I push my stroller to her and ask if they may have one, and she gladly agrees. I push my stroller back to my fancy Buick and wait for Justin to text that he will come save me. I plop back onto the curb. One of the babies whines: “I sooo hot mommy.” I ignore him and open my Facebook. Disney mom with a blister is at the top of my feed. Are these people literally commenting? Yep. Are they literally praying? That I don’t know. But I know Borne sandals are no less than eighty bucks? And a trip to Disney? And don’t get me wrong, I’d love to take my family to Disney, but once there, do I need to beckon prayer warriors to pray for my comfort?
Who are we? Is this what Facebook has created? First world pulpit calls for the wealthy elite not to get an open wound from their $80 sandals while vacationing in Florida?
My mom always told me God has time for everyone, and an excellent example is: If one of your kids had cancer would you still help the other with their math homework?
But, it occurs to me the God of Israel also granted us wisdom and common sense. Wisdom enough to pray really hard for the suffering and the lost -the weary and the brokenhearted. And common sense enough, that when we are on vacation we grab some Neosporin and some Band-Aids in the event of a blister. And it isn’t that I don’t think He cares if we are hurting. Or that I haven’t asked for prayers for small life events – tests for the kids, medical procedures… community, we need that and we need to lift each other up. But in the scope of human suffering, perhaps a blister in Orlando is small in comparison to the Syrian Refugees, or the slaughter of unborn babies, ten-year-old girls, ripped from their families, and sold into the sex trade?
And what about the whole, “attack from the enemy?” It’s a blister sister. And don’t worry she already un-friended and blocked me; I may have been snarky. While I believe that the devil likes to mess with us, I think we also give him too much credit. There’s spiritual warfare, and then there is just new shoe inflicted abrasions. If I give him that much tribute in my life, I am afraid he will take even more liberties.
Furthermore, if we are salt and light, what the heck does a post like this look like to non-believing sufferers? Those who are fighting cancer, burying their baby, marriage is falling apart… Or they don’t have money for groceries. Aren’t we culpable for looking like we actually give a rat’s patootie about the least of these? And if we dig deeper isn’t this the real attack from the enemy, to separate us from the gospel?? Won’t the enemy be successful in constructing walls between believers and non-believers if we expose our hearts as this… shallow?
Americanized Jesus. Does he wear a Mickey Mouse T-shirt, faded 501’s and trendy Borne Sandals? Is He so involved in our locked luxury cars and fabulous vacations He is absent from true suffering? Is it just me? Doesn’t this seem – almost sacrilegious? Granted if we live in constant prayer, the small stuff gets covered, but the shout out?
“The skin lesion in Disneyland” post changes me. Sitting in that parking lot, I vow to be different. We will adopt more! We will love more! We will give more! As soon as I get back in my car I am going to pray REALLY HARD about how to be the AUTHENTIC JESUS – The hands and feet of my Lord. And I am reserving my claim to PRAY HARD for hard praying issues. This day is the beginning.
Suddenly, the car unlocks and beeps! It is a sign! A miracle from the Lord for my wise obedience?
And then, a strange man steps past me and gets in the silver Buick that my babies and I sit smoldering next to…
My Buick is parked four spaces down.
It isn’t that Jesus didn’t hear the pleas to unlock my car – He very may well have. I was just praying hard to get in the wrong Buick. Somewhere in the mess of Americanized Jesus, Facebook, Neosporin, and Buicks Enclaves… I will be different, better, and more in tune with the genuine brokenness of this world. Surely He can use me…
Heaven help me. Heaven help us… heaven help. For this I am praying – REALLY HARD.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami