Her eyes delighted in the blue egg and her little hands cupped it gingerly. I told her we should leave it where it was and she reluctantly complied. For two weeks she wondered why the mommy didn’t come after it and how it fell out of its nest. Every day she ran around to the side of the house to check on its status.
I tried to warn her of the realities of what happens when an egg doesn’t have a mama to care for it. I told her it would take a miracle which was a mistake. To me, saying those words meant it was pretty much impossible. To a little girl who hasn’t had many hopes dashed in life, it meant possibility and hope. When I realized this, I tried to undo it but it was too late. She had already hoped and prayed for a miracle and I was cringing.
Two days ago she ran into the house announcing with great joy that the egg was cracking. She was sure the baby was emerging. She lead my mom and I to the side of the house. We could see that the egg was not hatching. The egg had been damaged and we could see the yolk. The moment she too realized this, I could see something disappear in her face. Joy, confidence and hope vanished and were replaced with what looked like resoluteness.
Was she resolving to never hope again? Was she already kicking herself inside for not listening to us and instead hoping? She turned and walked away with her new expression. I knew that her innocent hope had been broken. I started to explain to my mom how we had gotten to this point. That I hadn’t encouraged her to hope this much. My mother gave me a look that only a woman who has lived on this dream shattering earth for over seventy years could. “She needs you,” she said. I left my mom and went to her.
She let out a cry as I walked in the room as if she had been holding it in for the full three minutes it took for me to get there. I held her and she wailed. It was the wail I’d heard come from deep within my own heart before. That wail that comes from loss in life. The one that comes forth when you want God to come through with ever fiber of your being to explain himself, to DO something…anything, to turn back time, produce a miracle…bring back to life.
This during the week we are studying that Jesus called himself The Resurrection and the Life. How do I connect this to the egg for my little girl…me?
I am a visionary and tend to think of myself as hopeful. I try to pray big prayers. When someone is sick, I pray for complete healing and miracles. But I have to admit, at times I can be a bit jaded by shattered dreams, lost hopes and, what seems like, unanswered or delayed prayer. Perhaps that is why I was able to tell my five year old that it would take a miracle for a baby bird to hatch from the egg. You see, to me that was as good as saying that it would never happen. For even though I’ve prayed big prayers and hoped big hopes, I haven’t always seen results or answers that I want.
While the Lord has seen fit to shock me with His goodness, provision and care, there have been many times that His provision has felt delayed or given in little crumbs here and there. I have wondered if I was ignored at times. What if my words about the miracle showed me that my prayers don’t necessarily always show how much I hope in the God who calls himself The Resurrection and the Life?
So I pray big prayers but are they just lip service?
To “pay lip service” is to consent in one’s words while dissenting in one’s heart.
Am I joyfully hoping in an amazing God or am I just going through the motions? Do I really expect big things anymore from the God who called Lazarus to wake up and who rose from the dead himself? In my heart, is He distant or close? Do I pray like He is listening and active or like he is sitting on his throne with arms crossed? Do I live like I believe that He works in my life with the same power that brought Christ back from the dead?
Resurrection Power in my life…really…do I trust there is a God who wields that kind of power toward us who believe as we face life?
I’ve been reading Ephesians and I just can’t get past the first two chapters. I want to wrap my mind around this prayer Paul prays for other believers. I want to pray it for myself and others with thorough understanding and joyful hope that the Lord will grant it.
“I do not cease to give thanks for you,remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” -Ephesians 1:16
To have joyful hope in this God like a little child, would that be so foolish?
Perhaps the lost dream was not enough to discourage my daughter from hoping again. Later that day she said that she was praying for more eggs. That she was dreaming of having enough eggs to give out to our friends. Just a few hours later, the Lord answered her big prayer. She just happened to come across another egg to watch when a friend found one. She is still hoping and praying. Against all odds, she trusts that God could do a miracle and that even if He doesn’t, He is still a big and good God. Her attitude reminds me of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
“Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands? 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so,our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” -Daniel 3:16-18
Those young men were testifying of God’s ability to deliver them as they faced execution for not worshiping King Nebuchadnezzars false gods. I always liked that about them and this story. Something I hadn’t thought of though is what comes across as fresh and child-like hope. They and Daniel don’t seem jaded to me. Though they were in exile, humanly powerless before their earthly captors, they also trusted that God was working. They not only fearlessly prayed, but they also were hoping. I don’t think they were paying lip service to him. I think they not only thought God was able, but that God would answer their prayers. And perhaps the key to their ability to hope was a surrender to his sovereignty.
My ESV Gospel Transformation Bible puts it this way:
“But if not…”(v.18) indicates a willingness to bow before God’s sovereign wisdom and will. They do not demand that God deliver them in the way that they think is best but trust that he will deliver as he knows is best. God’s deliverance may come in this life or in the life to come, but his grace is always operating to provide what is best for our eternal good.”
My daughter now has some new wisdom about how much eggs really do need mama birds to keep them warm. She also still joyfully hopes though, that her God is able to bring forth a chick from the motherless egg as sure as He brought forth Lazarus from the tomb. She believes He will, despite her past disappointment. By God’s grace she will continue trusting in him even when or if the egg doesn’t hatch.
And me? I’m praying about how I move toward God in prayer and I’m earnestly seeking the Lord and His provision through it.
I’m also asking myself…
Do I truly believe that he is able to answer all of my prayers? Do I still hope and take joy in hoping and the great privilege of approaching him in prayer?
Do I believe He will answer my prayers, despite past disappointment and worldly rationalizations?
Will I continue to trust him and proclaim his goodness even if he doesn’t answer my prayer as I see fit?
“But I will hope in you and praise you yet more and more.” -Psalm 71;14
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” -Ephesians 3:20
Linking up this week with the following inspiring and encouraging blogs. I highly recommend visiting any and all of them!