Two months ago, we welcomed a baby boy into our family! We named him “Zachary”, which means “God remembers” or, “the Lord has remembered.” As I recovered in the hospital, and got to spend the first minutes and hours with this peaceful, little guy, all the ways in which God had remembered me in the last couple of months started rolling over me. Memories and half-forgotten prayers came over me in waves, and I realized just how much truth was held in that name.
- Often, we don’t pray specifically to our situation because we can’t imagine that there’s a solution that God could provide.
My final month of work was extremely stressful. I wanted to finish off well, tie up all loose ends, and have a strong plan to transition to maternity leave. Of course, none of that happened. The new hire started late, and then texted me to say she’d quit on her last day of training. We received 3-day’s-notice about a massive transition of services that would impact my very last week of work. A huge wait-list of kids needing care within 10 days was released. Instead of winding down into mat leave, I was drowning. I panicked. I forgot to pray. I freaked out. Does this sound familiar? I didn’t really pray about it, because I felt that this 10-day deadline was immoveable. Instead I prayed that God would help me make it through. That He would help me manage my stress. I didn’t think to pray about the source of the stress directly. You know what happened? When I finally started praying, suddenly a text came from my supervisor. The deadline had been extended by a month. She wanted me to be the first to know, because she knew how stressed I was.
Friend, this NEVER happens. But it did. God remembers, and has solutions that we cannot even fathom. Furthermore, He remembers us, and answers prayers in practical ways.
- We forget to pray about the little things, but the little things make up our days and eventually our lives.
Zachary was born two weeks early. Even though this was our second child, the first time around I had been induced, and was worried that I wouldn’t know when to go to the hospital. This time I remembered a little bit earlier to pray, and asked God for “wisdom and a clear sign” that it was time. On January 3rd, I left the house for a doctor’s appointment, and the doctor sent me right to the hospital. How clear of a sign is that? I had to drive myself, and was anxious (yet again!) about parking the car. I tentatively prayed for a parking spot… and drove right through the gate to find one waiting right ahead. (I even successfully backed into it… probably prayed not to hit anything too!)
Sometimes we are afraid to pray for the little things, because they seem trivial. Why would God care? Because He cares about YOU. Psalm 139: 2 – 6 says:
O Lord, you have searched me and
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
He is already ‘acquainted with all your ways’: your idiosyncrasies, your thoughts, your fears, your small stresses. He’s already thinking about what you need to get through the day. He is always remembering YOU.
- God means for us to live in “perfect peace.”
I can’t really pinpoint the place in my life where I started living in a heightened state of anxiety, but undoubtedly as rowing engulfed more and more of my life, and the stakes got higher and higher, I had more difficulty managing stress, and became so desensitized to it that I thought it was just a normal part of pursuing the ‘best’ life. It was not until I retired from rowing, and found myself still battling worry and anxious thoughts, that I realized this wasn’t just part of sport – it had become a part of ME.
When Jesus was preparing for His own crucifixion, He tells his closest friends that he is leaving them with peace. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27, ESV)
Worry is just a way of hanging onto control, and control is just an illusion. Isaiah 26:3 says:
“You will keep him in
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.”
We will never find peace until we are able to let go and give things over to God. It sounds so easy, but my experience has been that it’s a daily necessity. I have to give things back, because I keep picking them up! He will remember you, and will keep you in perfect peace, when your mind is focussed on Him.