My five year old son went through something pretty dramatic last year.
Every night, about an hour after tucking him into bed he would wake up crying and screaming as if he was in an extreme amount of pain. He was unresponsive to my voice and even to my touch, he cried and cried. On top of that he was wet with sweat and flailed his arms and legs like he was trying to fight something off of him.
Because he wouldn’t respond to me I just pulled him out of bed and held him until it would pass, that usually took somewhere between 10 to 20 minutes. Then, like nothing happened he would suddenly snap out of it and go back to bed.
This was scary not just for him but for his parents, we didn’t know what to do. He would tell us before going to bed that he didn’t want to have another bad dream, and what were we supposed to tell him, we knew that given the trend he probably would.
So we prayed, prayed before going to bed asking God to take these dreams away. Which we now know were night terrors. I prayed for him as he laid down his head and I laid hands on him and prayed for him shortly before I knew the next episode was coming.
But the night terrors just kept coming.
At first, I prayed for him realizing that we want them to stop but at the same if it’s the Lord’s will then so be it. After a while I admit I started to wonder why doesn’t God take this away? He can, I know He can so why wouldn’t He? I told myself that this is His plan, I can’t see the big picture and He knows what He’s doing. This went on for about six months, and then I started to question God, I questioned Him on what possible purpose could this be serving that it needs to happen every night. I questioned His sovereignty when I came to the conclusion that my five year old’s night terrors had no other purpose than his suffering.
We never stopped praying and even though I’ll admit to being frustrated, I never stopped believing in Him and eventually the night terrors stopped and we got back to sleeping normally.
So, why would I title this post “MIRACLES” and then tell you a story of how a miracle didn’t happen when I prayed so earnestly for one? Because despite the lack of a miracle in my son’s case, I still believe in miracles, I believe that God has the power to perform miracles even if He doesn’t do so when we ask for them.
Even though I questioned God on behalf of my son I never doubted His power, but I did wonder why He chose not to take this thing away.
So that brings me to another story. Five years ago my lovely wife Nancy started suffering from a pain in her side, not an unbearable pain but one of those things that is always there and always a literal pain in the side. I can’t fully grasp how bad it was because there is no way to know how much another person’s pain affects them.
Anyway, she had been to the doctors office multiple times, she had tests done that came back inconclusive, she had an ultrasound to see if there was something to be seen and again no one could give a reason for her pain.
Eventually she gave up and decided to live with it, bless her heart. She decided to endure it rather than complain about it. She would have me massage it at night before bed and that helped but only a little, she had different rubs and creams which again helped only a little. The pain was there to stay.
I could not know the level of pain she was in so there is no way for me to understand, I could try and I could have compassion but no way for me to fully get it.
This pain started before we were avid Jesus followers, when it started the thought of praying about it had never crossed our minds. And since she carried that pain into our new found faith the idea of praying about it still didn’t come to us because she had just determined that it was here to stay.
Then, one night as she lay awake suffering from the pain, I was fast asleep while she asked God to take it away and then she went to sleep (she told me this later). She woke up the next morning to a pain free side, over the next couple of hours she would stop and see if she could feel it, nothing. The next several days she did the same thing and still…. no pain.
It wasn’t until nearly two months later when she told me about it, the pain was gone! All those years, all that time laying awake at night and just like that it was gone, and all she had to do was ask.
So between two stories, one where prayers seemed to go unanswered and another where a single prayer was answered with a definitive yes. My faith grew stronger through both and it wasn’t until after my wife’s answered prayer that I realized what the reason for my son’s unanswered prayer was, see it wasn’t until his nightly episodes that I started to pray on a nightly basis. Before that we watched TV, we read a chapter from whatever book we were in in the bible and then went to bed.
Now because of his night terrors I talk to God every night, and now because of that, I pray more during the day, and at night. So the thing that I thought served absolutely no purpose actually did have a purpose, and I think that purpose was that God wanted me to talk to him more, and now I do. Even though I blamed Him at the time, I accused Him of not doing anything and the whole time He must have been thinking “just be patient”