Our 9 year old is struggling with nightmares. Really icky ones. Robbers. Murderers. Death. They’ve taunted him for six or seven weeks now. He first told me about them with a very sage explanation.
“It’s like this mom, when you get closer to 10 you really understand things better. You know, in life. Before, when I was younger, I wasn’t really afraid of bad guys because I thought they were just pretend. Now I know they are out there. And it kinda makes me scared.”
This fear is heavy on our little, big guy’s heart. And on his mother’s. I offered all kinds of solutions and strategies to no avail. Truthfully, my toolbox was coming up empty on this one.
Why am I so slow to remember to take everything to the Lord?!?!
A few nights ago I prayed a special prayer with our son at bedtime. I asked God for His protection, to calm his fears, to give him restful sleep. After I was finished praying, my sleepy boy told me it was a beautiful prayer and he already felt better. Then he went to sleep. But the nightmares came.
For three nights I prayed with my son. For three nights the bad guys returned. I was more worried about the discouragement in his eyes than the nightmares. His question came quick.
“Mommy we prayed to God. Why isn’t he answering? I’m still scared?”
I prayed for answered prayer for my son. I cried for it. Please Lord, let my son see you at work. Take away the nightmares and fear if it’s Your will. But, please Father let him know you are there!
Two days ago, my son came home from school with a mountain of papers that sent shivers up my spine. Have I mentioned I hate clutter? From the mess of homework, notes to sign, quizzes, and papers he pulled the chapel schedule for November. The 4th graders serve as acolytes and crucifers at daily chapel. His excitement to find out his turn quickly soured.
Fear flashed before his eyes. His day to serve as crucifer is El Dia de los Muertos! It’s written in Spanish on the calendar so he looked at me hoping for confirmation that something was lost in the translation. But he knew. And so did I.
He said it with such disbelief and conviction. While I’m not proud of his choice of words it pretty much summed up the situation. Robbers. Murderers. Death. Of all the days to serve as crucifer my fear burdened son landed Day of the Dead!!!
I knew I had a window of about 2 seconds to respond. In His perfect timing, God used me to reveal the answered prayer we both were so desperately waiting for.
I don’t remember my exact words. They weren’t mine anyway. But it went something like this.
“Oh sweetie. Don’t you see? God is telling you it’s ok. Look at the chapel topic for November. Right there. See? It’s COURAGE. God is asking you to be courageous. And, He’s giving you the opportunity to show it. This is a gift, honey. God is asking you to carry the cross on Day of the Dead. It’s not to make you scared. It’s to free you of your fear. He’s speaking to you. He’s answering prayer.”
The blessing is our son got it. He understands that this is not irony or coincidence. This is an opportunity to serve God on a day that could have been straight out of his nightmares. His fears are not gone. The bad guys are still showing up in the night. But, God has given our son the hope of courage and the reassurance that He IS there.
I wasn’t going to share this story out of respect for my son. But this morning he asked me to.
“Hey mom. You know how God is asking me to be courageous and I get to be the crucifer on Day of the Dead? You should write about that. You know on your Christian blog. The Kitchen Mission.”
I’m not sure I even realized he knew about my blog. Come to think of it he just busted himself for being on my computer again. But, with his permission, I offer this entry as a great reminder of God’s faithfulness.
I love sharing with my son that God doesn’t answer prayers on our time frame, yet His timing is perfect. And, He doesn’t always answer prayers as we expect or want them to be answered. But rest assured. He always answers prayer.