April 24, 2014

The hardest prayer to pray

"Then Jesus withdrew from them about a stone's throw, knelt down, and prayed, "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done." -Luke 22:42

 When the plus sign showed on the take-home pregnancy test, so faint, but so clearly there, I began praying. Please, God. This time. Please, God. Let it be this time. Each night, I curled my hands around my stomach and prayed with all my heart and soul. Please, God, protect this child. Please God, be with this child. Help me to protect this child. Help me to keep this child safe for the next nine months. 

When the doctor's office called to say that the pregnancy was, again, not viable, I felt betrayed. I had already suffered through one loss. How could I be expected to suffer through yet another? I had prayed for this with all my heart, all my being, but my prayer had not been answered. Silence, it seemed, was God's response.

Not my will, but yours. 

I was reminded, then, of Jesus's prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane just before his crucifixion. How, in that moment of desperation, when any sensible person would have prayed to God to be saved, Jesus prayed that God's will be done. "I don't want this," he prayed, "yet not my will, but yours be done."

 I am awed by his trust. At times, I struggle to trust God's decisions in my own life. Sometimes, I can't help but believe that I'm the only one who knows what's best for me. We're self-centered in that way. We struggle to see and understand the bigger picture. It's difficult for us to trust that God sees and understands the big picture. It's difficult for us to tell ourselves that the world is not centered around our lives, that our lives, added together with the lives of those who came before and who will come after, make up the bigger picture that is God's Kingdom.

 Do I believe that my miscarriages are a part of that bigger picture? I don't know. Do I believe that it was God's will that I lose two babies after only knowing about them for a week? I struggle to say yes, because I don't like the idea of God ordaining suffering. But just yesterday, I told a handful of kindergarten and first graders the story of God's plagues on the Egyptians. And there are certainly other times that God allowed (even aided in) the suffering of God's people.

 As I pray each night now, I find my mouth forming the words - Please, God... - but then I stop myself. As I curl my hands together above where a child will hopefully, someday find a safe home, I pray a new prayer.

Not my will, but yours.

It is the hardest prayer I have ever prayed. But it is the prayer I know I must pray. God knows what God is doing. In God I place my trust.

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