Isn’t it amazing how quickly life can change in the blink of an eye?
One minute life is all peaches and cream and a minute later – it’s “crumb-y.” It is this ebb and flow that not only keeps us on our toes, but keeps my faith intact and growing. Our family has had lots of action(mostly good) this past month and I try to always be aware of those little life lessons as we walk through these things. You never know what situation will produce an opportunity for growth or which person will have some words of wisdom for you. Most recently it was our eight year old granddaughter that taught me a powerful lesson.
The entire family has been eagerly awaiting the birth of our first grandson. His oldest sister, now eight years old, has been particularly excited. And throughout the months of waiting she has consistently offered up one particular prayer request. One that may be considered a bit unusual but no more odd than adults praying to win the lottery. MC has beautiful brunette hair with golden highlights – the kind that folks gladly pay mega-bucks. Her mother also shares her hair color, while her younger sister and dad share ginger curls.
Each night MC lifted her sweet and innocent petitions to God and after sufficiently “blessing” everyone she asked God for one request – for baby brother to have brown hair like her and her mommy. When her mother first told me about her prayer request, I had to chuckle – especially once she told me the reason for the request. But every night, month after month this child continued to ask God for a brown haired brother. I actually became concerned about her persistence to the point that I too asked God, “If it’s not a problem, Lord, and doesn’t interfere with your plans – could you give this baby brown hair?”
OK, by now you’re thinking, “Oh my gracious, how sweet. MC’s persistence paid off and her brother has brown hair!” No. You would be wrong. It’s a far more powerful lesson than that. Baby brother was a scheduled C-section baby so his sisters stayed with us the night prior to his arrival. Mommy and Daddy had to be at the hospital at 5:30 a.m. so the girls were here for a famous sleep-over! That night as we are tucking in these precious ones, MC’s prayer was very, very different. She blessed everyone appropriately, thanked God appropriately, and as I waited for her one request . . . I held my breath. While I expected to hear a little voice ask for a brown-headed brother, this is what I heard. “And God, if brother has red hair – that’s o.k. with me! Amen.”
I could hardly get off my knees. I blinked back the tears, I tried to swallow, I tried to tell them good night. I cleared my throat and finally managed to say, “Good night, sweet dreams, I love you.” But just barely. By the time I left the room, I had a good steady flow of tears. I was so struck by the power of prayer, by the transformation that takes place in our heart when we align our desires with God.
All too often we stake our claim in Psalm 37:4 and declare, “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” We contend that if we’re living as we should, staying in right relationship with Him and not asking for anything selfish or destructive, that God will honor our requests. When the reality is, our prayers are most effective when they change the desires of our heart to correspond with His desires. After months, literally months of praying for a brown-haired brother, God spoke to MC’s soft and responsive heart and placed HIS desires in HER heart. Their desires became one, her heart was for his will to be done – not her own.
I immediately understood what Jesus meant when he said, “. . . unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3 A child holds a soft, pliable and trusting heart that is willing to change, open to other ideas, free to receive what is best.
Was her heart truly changed, or was it simply the voice of resignation? I think the picture speaks for itself. She is truly smitten. And beneath that nursery cap is a head full of GINGER hair!
Father, free us from our own petty desires, soften our hearts that we may we willing to receive the BEST from you. Align our desires with yours that your will may be done.
In His most merciful grace,