There are so many things I’m grateful to God for. Really huge things. I think of our son who was born with a raging brain infection. I had a 108-degree fever during labor and when the doctor pulled our son out, he wasn’t breathing. Several weeks into NICU and a staggering amount of PICC line antibiotics later, the doctors were convinced our son would probably never hear, walk, or talk. The NICU nurse explained to us that the county would send free occupational therapists into our home to give early intervention services for “Joe-Joe’s” disabilities.
Then infant Joe-Joe astounded medical staff by passing his hearing test with flying colors. Month after month as Joe-Joe met and surpassed every first-year milestone, all talk of early intervention was abandoned. Now he’s a perfectly healthy three-year-old. And every time he yells, “No, I won’t, Mama!” and throws his dinosaur in defiance, I praise the Lord that he’s able to do those things.
God answered other prayers that year Joe-Joe was born. The summer before his birth, my husband was unemployed and I was finishing my unpaid master’s level internship. We were living in a bed-bug infested apartment in a section of Denver that did not feel safe to me. My husband had applied to hundreds of jobs and each one sent him a “we’re pursuing other, more qualified candidates” notice.
When my husband finally got an interview, I was on my knees day and night begging God to give him the job. Every time our church’s band started into the lyrics of Matt Redman’s “Blessed be your name, in the land that is plentiful” or “though I walk through the wilderness,” I told God, but please let it be the plentiful land. I want that one way more than the wilderness walk.
In August, God answered “Yes,” my husband started his new job, and we got pre-approved for a mortgage. Now our apartment, though small and stuffed with unpacked boxes, was adequate. Thanks to a volcano eruption worth of diatomaceous earth, we’d killed the bedbugs and most of the cockroaches. But I wanted a house.
Several weeks before my husband drew his first paycheck, we went house-hunting with a real estate agent. Most of the houses in our price range were tiny split-levels that had a one-car garage squished into the house where a family room should be. But one house was a four-bedroom, two-story foreclosure set in an idyllic neighborhood in the best section of town. It needed a lot of work, but we were young and handy. I looked at the green trees and walking trails by this house and compared them to the rat nest under the dumpster by our apartment. Instead of the creepy stares of hooded men who I’d convinced myself were gangsters, I saw smiling moms and friendly children playing on the local playground. There was even a lake.
I could have survived a few more months in the apartment though morning sickness had me throwing up every time the neighbors cooked Indian food and the smell filtered through the discolored walls. Eventually, we would have found some kind of tiny split-level to call our own. But oh, how I wanted that house. We put in our offer and I spent every spare second talking to God.
As I pushed down on the brakes at a red light, I squeezed in a prayer. Walking through the grocery store, I cried out to God. “Please, please, I really want that house!” So many obstacles stood in the way. The possibility of another bidder, our excruciatingly slow mortgage company that almost lost us our contract, and the fact that, as a probationary employee-in-training, my husband’s job didn’t technically qualify us to receive a mortgage.
But God answered. This fall we’ll celebrate four years in our lovely two-story. I didn’t need that awesome of a house, but I sure appreciated it.
And that’s the thought I cling to when life doesn’t go my way, and God seems so very far from answering. God hasn’t just done the big miracles in my life; He’s done the little ones too. He’s not just in the business of answering the absolutely necessary, save your child from death prayers. God can also answer the prayers you almost didn’t pray, the prayers for the littler desires of your heart.
So when I’m stuck in the waiting stage, full of hope deferred and far-off dreams, I try to remember that. God’s done great things for me in the past. He’ll do them again.