Spirit intercedes for us in prayer

We got home late last night from a busy travel-packed four days, and I planned to share with you how God’s using some of the hard motherhood moments from one trip to show me my heart and my kids’ hearts. But that will have to wait because that was before TODAY happened.

All I can think about right now is what happened today.

I pulled out of my neighborhood this afternoon and was hit by a car. (Happy birthday to me, right?) It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t fun either. My three year old was with me, and I’m beyond grateful he wasn’t hurt. Besides a headache and some soreness, I’m physically fine. Emotionally, I’ve been a little shaky this evening. And spiritually? My soul feels tender from being pierced in a few places.

My emotions are swirling in motions that don’t make sense to me. They don’t match with what I’ve always thought about the hand of God in moments like these and the forms his protection takes.

Someone says, “Look at how God protected you and Lincoln,” and He absolutely did. THANK YOU, LORD. But I’m not any more special and loved by God than the guy who left the scene in an ambulance.

Someone says, “Maybe this will be the way God provides you a new vehicle!” but that’s not good news to the person at fault, the other guy who’ll take the financial blow.

Whatever might be said here of circumstantial “silver lining” is in fact costly to another, and to be honest, I’m not entirely comfortable with that truth. It feels bad to me right now.

It seems that following God may mean letting go of some of the labels we put on his parental love. I want to shout how loving and good HE has been to us today, but I also know that he wouldn’t be less good if the outcome had been worse. My hope cannot rest in the protection itself – though it’s absolutely praiseworthy – but in the God who gives it. Though protection came and provision may still, I don’t consider those gifts the ultimate marks of God’s love for me. I could have easily been on the other side of the situation, and God wouldn’t have momentarily dropped those parts of his character as I suffered.

I’m thinking this wrestling may be an extension of some other wrestling that’s taken place in my heart and mind lately, and it’s forcing me to look back at something my Sunday morning Bible class has been studying in Acts: So many times when God’s Spirit moves to do something powerful for the kingdom of Christ, it also involves suffering. That’s easy to say but really hard to take in. When the church passionately prayed for Peter to be released from prison, God gave the miracle they begged for- and the poor guards paid for it with their lives (Acts 12:5-19). In the very next chapter, we read how the proconsul Sergius Paulus dramatically came to faith in Christ – after seeing God through another man being cursed with blindness (Acts 13:6-12). Kingdom ways don’t always fit the way we expect them to.

And I guess the main reason TODAY has made me restless is that it makes me wonder about all of the things I ask God for. The deep-seated desires of my heart – if they were to come true for me, might they hurt someone else’s dreams? Considering that God has worked in this unusual, mysterious way before, I’m not saying such wondering is reason enough to abandon our desires or stop asking God for things. Clearly not His design! But I think there’s wisdom and humility found in giving thought to how our answered prayers may set off a chain reaction for someone else’s life that isn’t in line with what they’ve asked God for.

Spirit prays when we don't know how to pray

Truthfully, I don’t love to write a blog post full of more questions than answers, but such is the state of my mind tonight – mulling over God’s Word, in full wrestling mode – and it seems the most honest thing to write and leave it without a tidy conclusion. I’m still a girl who believes God is in control of ALL things and weaves all of our lives together for good apart from my understanding. And according to Romans 8:26-27, even knowing how to pray isn’t all riding on me. So trust me when I say I don’t plan on losing any sleep over this any time soon! Yet, I’m ok with sitting in the questions for a while.

But what about you –

Do you ever ponder your deepest heart cries in this context of ripple effect? What truth do you cling to for encouragement and guidance as you pray?