Sunday, February 24, 2013

Worry and Prayer


It’s a strange feeling when your toddler begins to teach you and minister to you. In the car this afternoon my two-year-old daughter said “Mommy’s boo-boo leg is healing up.” And I agreed and added that it would take a while. I must have sounded sad because my daughter then piped up with “Mommy’s sad about that.”  So I told her I was, a little, but that it would be okay. She responded with “Please don’t cry.” I assured her that I wouldn’t cry. The next thing told me was “please don’t worry.” Inside I’m wondering, where does she get this stuff? It’s eerie when your toddler echoes you, but it’s even eerier when she begins to say important things you don’t think you ever taught her. I told her I wouldn’t worry and that G-D is taking care of me and would heal my leg. Then I talked for a few minutes about G-D always being near us and answering our prayers, until she moved on to another topic.

Now I have to try to live up to not worrying and trusting G-D, since I don’t want to be a hypocrite. Which isn’t always so easy. I’ve been a little down the past few days; getting the heavy splint off was great but now that I am trying to do range of motion with my ankle I’m realizing I can’t move it well. Intellectually, I know it is still early. I know it’s still swollen and inflamed. I know that things will improve with time and persistent effort at rehabilitation. Still, intellect isn’t always in charge. Emotionally, it feels discouraging to not be able to completely flex or point my toes the way I am used to doing. Let’s not even talk about ankle circles. Emotionally, I’m tired of pain and hassle.

The pastor in church today talked about Christians being afraid of prayer, because prayer the way we taught it is transformational, not transactional. The difference being that transformational prayer seeks G-D’s will as opposed to transactional prayer that asks for things. Transactional prayer isn’t wrong; it’s okay to ask for what you need and want; but it should be subordinate to transformational prayer. That part of the sermon really struck me because I absolutely feel that it is frightening to pray sometimes. It is one thing to pray, Lord, heal my ankle. Help me recover. It is yet another thing to say Lord, your will be done. I’d like my ankle to be healed, but if for some reason I can serve you better with this limitation then I will accept that. I’ll be honest; I don’t want to accept that.

I think that’s where a lot of worry comes in for Christians, despite several passages of scripture that tell us not to worry. We worry because we know that ultimately we might be asked to do something we really don’t want to do, to deal with something we just don’t feel we can deal with, because it serves a larger purpose. The pastor spoke a word of comfort for that, too. He said that by the time you get to whatever you’re afraid of, it will be the next logical step. He said G-D will lead you there bit by bit until you are ready. That certainly sounds better, but I’m not sure it bears out in practice. I have gone through things that I know were ultimately for good (for me and for others) but that I didn’t feel ready for or enjoy at all. I doubt I’m the only one who would say that. Surrender of our will is very hard.

I don’t have a really good answer to any of this. I do feel that worry is unproductive; it saps energy without producing any benefits. So I will try not to worry, and I will try to trust both the process of healing and G-D’s will. I will keep on doing my part to get the best possible outcome. And I will try to trust that prayer that transforms me is best in the long run.