When I was a young girl, I was prone to the most ridiculous and often selfish prayers. My Dad’s favorite actor has always been John Wayne. Watching those movies year after year? YUP you guessed it.. I wished with all my heart that I had been born in the Wild West. Of course I KNEW that was a ridiculous thing to pray for, so I prayed for something much more “practical”. “Dear Father in Heaven, please send someone to give me a horse. It can be ANY horse.. old, young, fast or slow. Any horse will do,” and I always added, “Your will be done,” at the end just like my Dad always did.
Now in a family with 7 children and 2 adults? YUP.. not really all that practical. In fact, it was a really selfish prayer. Children’s prayers often are. I never intended to be selfish. I simply wanted to hold out hope that for some reason it WOULD be part of God’s Will for us. Over the years, I prayed many such prayers. “Lord, please let there be a Cabbage Patch Kid under the tree tomorrow morning.” OR “Please let this teacher move to New Mexico.” OR “PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE… Can I have a horse?” Many years passed before I realized that God is much smarter than we are. A horse would have strapped our family in a way to make our simple life style miserable. So God said, “No”. A Cabbage Patch Kid was an overpriced doll. So God said, “No, but your Mom and Grandma made you a similar doll with love and care.. accept this instead.” And as for the teacher? Well God knew that sometimes having unpleasant people in my life was the best way to keep me from ever becoming unpleasant myself.. So instead God said, “I want you to have this unpleasant teacher, but next year I will send an especially wonderful one.”
As I grew older, I sometimes slipped back into ridiculous prayers. “Lord, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let my awesome friend ask me to the school dance.” Now that I am a happily married adult, I realize that God was so loving by telling me “NO”. You see God knew that He had someone special in mind for me all along. By not giving into my requests (ok.. begging), God steered me in the direction He intended me to go.
Some of my prayers, God did grant. Some were practical. I prayed for a WHOLE day (that’s pretty long for a teenager) before I went to the principal and asked if we could keep the yearbook committee if we held it after school. It was granted immediately. I always had enough babysitting jobs to afford dresses for dances. I always had enough strength to do the hard things in life. Every presentation, every performance, every apology.. I could feel God’s presence just as I had asked for.
Throughout my life, I became more and more aware that God doesn’t just answer “Yes” or “No”. Quite often God answered me with a “Not Yet”. “Dear Father in Heaven, I would really like a new car, if it’s in Your Will..”, Not Yet … “Dear Father in Heaven, I would really like to move closer home to family.. if it’s in Your Will..,” Not Yet.. be patient. “Dear Father in Heaven, I would LOVE to have my daughter grow out of this phase.. quickly.. OH, if it’s in Your Will, of course??” (I think I heard Him chuckle on that one) Not yet.. your daughter needs to learn something first.
I have come to think of these “Not Yet” answers as a kind of Two Hour Delay. When schools have a Two Hour Delay, they aren’t saying they aren’t going to take your kids. They are simply saying “Not Yet! We want to make sure it is the perfect time.” In the same way, God wasn’t telling me No.. just that the timing was not quite right.. not just yet.
Recently, I felt the full impact of one such Two Hour Delays.. or in this case it was a 14 Year Delay. Almost from birth, my son has had tummy and digestive issues.. He would scream in pain, he would projectile vomit.. and he was never comfortable. I would rock him, sing to him… my husband even tried his miracle football hold (that had saved us with our daughter). Nothing helped. I started praying that God would show me what was wrong and how to help. We did test after test.. Nothing. Still we prayed for a solution. We found home remedies and over the counter meds that helped some. Still we prayed. Eventually, the doctors gave us medicine for him. But for every solution that medicine seemed to give our son, more symptoms would pop up. So STILL we prayed for wisdom on what was wrong. Eventually we received a diagnoses of Autism. With a diagnosis, my son received therapies. But we noticed his behavior kept slipping. I was told by other mothers of children with Autism that I needed to accept his limitations. The doctors said I needed to accept his medical issues and just make him comfortable. After MANY tears, I prayed, “Lord, if THIS is your answer. If this is the life you intended for my son, please give me the peace to accept this answer. But IF it is in Your Will, I would like to keep fighting for a solution. I would like to find a way for my son to do ALL of the things that he WANTS to do. So IF it’s in Your Will.. please help me find a way.”
I did have peace for years.. He was growing and seemed less uncomfortable. His behavior equalized and he seemed to be maturing. And then one day all that progress.. it stopped. He seemed to grow “worse” by the day. He would focus less, quote more, listen less, yell more. Our peace was gone. So once again, I prayed for answers. I researched for hours for solutions. And Still I prayed for guidance.
Then one day, God decided it was the perfect time. He sent someone to tell me about food sensitivities and related behaviors. I immediately went home and researched.. and it was all there. EVERY answer to EVERY issue. I found links between digestive health and vitamin deficiencies. I found links between vitamin deficiencies and learning disorders. I found links between learning disorders and diagnoses.. And I found links that showed me the link between Autism and digestive health.. and that digestive health can lead to the worsening of Autism. And I cried… I cried because it was all there! I cried because God hadn’t said “Accept this!”.. He had actually said, “Not just Yet.. Our timing needs to be perfect.”
I do not know why God thought THIS time was the perfect time. But I do know that after I scheduled an appointment with a Diet and Nutrition doctor, it was a short time until we had a few simple tests done. And a short time until all the results gave us the rest of the answers we needed. I don’t really need to know why this is God’s perfect time. But you can bet that I am Accepting that THIS is God’s plan. I am accepting that my son is improving everyday. He smiles more, yells less, he works more, quotes less, draws more and cries less.
So as I battled the roads this morning to take my kids to school after a Two Hour Delay, I couldn’t find it in my heart to be frustrated with the school. Because some of the most Glorious things happen when it is on God’s schedule and who am I to question that schedule?