Yesterday our middle son was having some pretty severe acid reflux from his stomach--resulting in a lot of pain for him and a lot of being grossed out by the rest of the family as he constantly deposited the effects of the reflux into a bin he kept with him. By 10:30 last night, we were bracing ourselves for a long night. He couldn't lie down because it made things worse; and he couldn't fall asleep sitting up.
I've been thinking a lot about prayer lately (probably more thinking than doing, unfortunately). Some of this has been because of the VTech incident and my musings on why God doesn't always keep us safe [see May 1 and following posts]; but also because I've been mulling my way through Philip Yancey's new book, Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference? I find Yancey to be very insightful and profound and highly recommend his books to everyone. But this one is challenging. There are lots of examples (to which we could all add many more) of good, sincere people asking God for things that don't seem unreasonable, and being met with deafening silence. And yet somehow, we keep praying and asking. What else can we do?
So last night as I sat in bed with my son I prayed, "God let him sleep tonight. I'm not asking for a miraculous cure, just some rest for his body and for ours." In 30 seconds he was sound asleep, and stayed that way the whole night. This morning he was up reflux-ing again right where he left off.
I think that one part of becoming a spiritually mature person is to orient oneself toward, or to see the world through, faith. Did an answer to prayer happen last night? Would he have fallen to sleep if I hadn't uttered those pleas to God? I suppose there will always be competing realities for people of faith and people without faith--like the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon strip where the tiger is alive in Calvin's perspective on the world, but not in anyone else's perspective. Life is sure a lot more interesting and fun with a live tiger.