We had already secured cheap airline tickets and the planning for the trip was in full swing.
We were going to Vegas, buddy.
Trey and I…flying high.
We weren’t going to gamble or to introduce my boy to libertine living, but to participate in a martial arts tournament.
Trey had been training hard and was determined to bring home the gold.
The instructor was coaching him with fervor and reminding us to eat well, sleep well, and not to get hurt pursuing other hobbies.
He once had a boy break his arm while skateboarding just two weeks before a tournament.
Don’t be that boy, he warned.
Trey was not that boy…he broke his arm while skateboarding three weeks before the tournament.
He got the soft cast yesterday, then he’ll have three weeks in a hard one.
The hard cast will come off one week after the tournament and one week too late to participate.
Naturally he is disconsolate, and naturally, he comes to me for comfort and to understand this cruel twist of circumstance.
“Everything happens for a reason”, I offered.
“Will you pray”? he asked.
I ignored the prayer request because we all know that God isn’t going to heal his arm on time and the earlier in life that he can accept the religious cliche I offered that everything happens for mysterious reasons known only to God the better off he will be.
Hopefully, he’s too young to inquire of me why we only use that cliche when something bad happens….
“Will you pray”? he asked again…this time with a voice of desperation.
If I say yes, he’ll want an x ray every day to see if God has healed him yet and if God doesn’t heal him I’ve already used my best cliche.
If God doesn’t answer his prayer he’ll be utterly disappointed with Jesus and leave the faith when he gets older and run a snarky internet site mocking Christians.
“WILL YOU PRAY”????…now the volume is up and the tears are flowing.
Yes, I’ll pray.
I’ll pray for a child like faith that still believes that God can and God will do things beside provide cliches for jaded Christian parents.
I’ll pray for the faith to risk praying big prayers to a bigger God.
I’ll pray for a heart that won’t settle for cliches when prayer is an option.
I’ll pray that you never lose your hope in the mercy and goodness of God.
I’ll pray…that your arm is healed in time to catch a flight to Vegas.
God may just heal him…everything happens for a reason.
Make your own application…
“We all know that God isn’t going to heal his arm in time”….. Nah….. Even after the multitude of ‘unanswered’ prayers, I have yet to lose hope. Two years ago, I prayed and prayed and prayed with my granddaughter for her parents’ marriage to be saved….. and they are now divorced, barely speaking…. Huge, painful disappointment, yet she and I both continue to have hope and offer prayers of faith.
“God may just heal him”…..indeed and I’m going to ‘be Pentecostal’ on that for Trey…
Love you my friend. Keep sharing your heart.
Thank you…and thank you for being an answer to my prayers more than once, my friend.
Poor Trey. 🙁 God bless him.
“WILL YOU PRAY”????
Trey is awesome.
I’m praying that the Lord will surprise/delight Trey in ways that perhaps we cannot fathom.
Anybody else see this? Sobering, inspiring, reality check. God is good….. in spite of… http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/10/10/how-the-ayres-family-buried-their-8-children/
Paige….wow..heartbreaking and yet they could say, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Amen, Michael and Paige…
I have to share this story– my son broke his arm skateboarding just weeks before tryouts for the high school soccer team. The doc said this kind of break normally requires surgery, but we’ll see how it might heal with a cast. He was also a year-round swimmer, so we found an inflatable “sock” to go around his cast and he kept swimming. At 6 weeks, the doc x-rayed it and found it almost healed, which shocked him. They kept the cast on for another 6 weeks, just to make sure it was healed all the way, but we avoided surgery. The only explanation for the unanticipated healing was added blood flow and oxygenation from using the arm for swimming. Those prayers might be answered…it’s all in the blood 🙂
I think/hope that maybe just asking God in the middle of the impossible is the expression of belief my kids need from me so they can see how to lean into God. I think/hope that maybe God is planting a seed of faith and trust and hope and belief in them as they come to him as little children and their trust and hope and belief will grow and expand. My hope is that my skepticism and my jaded-ness and “lifetime of practical experience” isn’t passed on to them and instead they’ll remember that Dad prayed and believed God.
My 2nd year at OU (after a redshirt first year) I was in the best shape of my life. Wasn’t partying, was working out hard and bringing some serious heat from the mound. My changeup was excellent and my achilles heel (the curve) was actually doing much better. Our first games were a weekend tournament (in Vegas as a matter of fact) and the coach said every pitcher on the staff was going to get a few innings in this tournament. I had no doubt I would do well and my college career was about to take off.
Two days before we left, just jogging out to the outfield I stepped weird in a spot between the infield dirt and outfield grass and severely sprained my ankle. Total freak injury. By the time I was healed, we were deep into conference play and the travel roster was set.
I am convinced I would never have come to Christ living the life of a minor league player, and I believe I was on a path to take me there had I not been injured (as most guys at a school like OU get drafted if they play regularly – even in the very late rounds of the draft)
I will ask the Lord one day if an angel tweeked my ankle that day, in order for His purposes to be accomplished in my life.
I too will pray for Trey. I hope he may see in this life why this happened, but then again, sometimes we can’t look back as to “why” but can only rest in the goodness of God and His perfect will.
Linnea’s comment, “it’s all in the blood” is awesome! Can’t wait to see how The Lord handles this.
Thanks for the great responses and prayers folks…
I will be praying for him too.
Sorry to hear about Trey. Will pray for a quick healing.
Since the end of the story is, “Make your own application”, the application for me is follow instructions. As I have been teaching through Leviticus, God’s laws and commands are not to be a killjoy, but to keep us from harm.
When we decide not to pray because we think this would be like asking God to suspend laws of physics or cause and effect, it shows lack of imagination. As if what we are praying for could only come about in a way we can imagine in a few seconds. I’ve found that I’ve been wrong sometimes. I thought it was useless to pray only to find the request granted, with nothing contrary to nature required. I just hadn’t been able to see what events might go together to bring it about. We might suspect that what we are asking is contrary to how God does things. But I think we should be more open to praying, anyway. To pray anyway is to acknowledge that we don’t know everything.
Praying for the both of you.Its always difficult on the parents watching their childern experience disapointment.
Love in Christ.
Thanks to all for the kind words and prayers.
He’s driving me nuts at the moment because he can’t do anything….
Sometimes they get answered.
You rule, Michael.
They always get answered. Only sometimes the answer is no.
Michael, just out of curiosity – was this part of a team tourney or something that Trey alone qualified for?
Michael — last night, I legitimately witnessed a broken foot get healed. They are getting it X-Rayed to verify this weekend.
I hate the charismatic abuses… but I believe a miracle for Trey is possible.
Thank you…and follow up on that for us.
We have a team…and that team is one of the best on the West Coast.
We bring back lots of medals from tournaments with the big one being the Jr. Olympics.
Your prayers kept me out of the hospital last week….
Curious if Trey is more upset that he’s not going to be able to make the tourney, or that he’s going to miss some time at the skate park?
No contest. He’s been an insufferable pain all day long because we wont let him put a pad over the cast and skate.
I hope Trey’s arm is totally healed and he is able to participate in future events. I hope that missing any events is not to disruptive in his life. I am joyful he has a wonderful father and has found a good sport to be involved in. It was nice to hear what others shared and their encouragement with you and Trey and the rest of us. It is really helpful for me to read these messages.
It is such a blessing to belong to a group that shares the more personal parts of their lives for the betterment of the rest of us. I do hope you have a nice evening.
Thank you, Brian…we’re glad you’re with us.
Praying even now…Sammy was sick this past week and asked Steve to pray for him so he could play soccer last night. It had been about 2 weeks since his last game. He played, and it was fine…he was a little off, but fine. But I have to share a cool thing.
It is rec league, but you always have some parents who think it is super competitive. And some kids. Sammy is good, really good, and he gets fairly competitive. We have a loud group of parents..not obnoxious, and not mean, but we like to cheer 😉
We have a kid named JJ on our team. He is slightly autistic. He is partially deaf. Half the time he runs the wrong direction. Some times he lays down. Sometimes he just stops and looks at us instead of the coach….and we all oblige and shout instructions and probably look like idiots.
We were down last night 2-1 and were playing a really competitive team…read that as a team that liked to push and shove and play just shy of dirty. At the half who does the coach put in at goal? JJ. I thought his mom was going to have a heart attack.
The reaction of the whole sideline of parents…absolute delight. I loved it…everyone cheered her and JJ and told her to just go down by the goal and enjoy her boy…we did not care a hoot if we won or lost. Enjoy the moment.
The boy blocked two goals and our crowd erupted. The other parents looked at us like we were crazy…they were easy shots. Sammy is killer on defense and the coach told him to watch JJ’s back. The other team got one past us, but we were able to tie the game up and walked away 3-3.
And JJ was down there doing his happy dance in the goal the whole second half.
There is so much nonsense is kids sports these days…but last night was glorious. When JJ didn’t what to do, one of the kids from the team would run up and show him what to do…where to put the ball, etc. We cheered loudly enough that even though he is partially deaf I know he heard us 😉 When he started out the season he would roll around on the ground during practice and drive everyone crazy…now we wait for the chance to cheer for him. And if nothing else, it has lifted his mother’s spirits and encouraged her. It’s been great.
Just thought I’d share some good news…
And now…off to pray for impossible things. My friend Gianna (the girl who survived the saline abortion and knows a bit of impossible things) often calls for believing God will do the impossible. I have a few on my list. I’ll add Trey…
Just a thought is there a way he can “practice” skateboard or his martial arts why he heals, maybe looking up other sports figures who were injured and what they did to get better. Sometimes examples are very helpful.
Wow, Sarah. That was beautiful. Your words told that story like a movie in my mind and I have tears, seeing the crowd cheering for JJ and his mama so encouraged. Thank you for sharing that.
Praying for the Lord to encourage Michael and Trey this weekend in a special way.
Rick’s#16 “To pray anyway is to acknowledge that we don’t know everything”. Amen
Cool story, Sarah.
Brian @# 28: “It is such a blessing to belong to a group that shares the more personal parts of their lives for the betterment of the rest of us.”
Michael, this is tremendous! Definitely praying for Trey’s healing, and for your…uh…patience.
I’m preparing a couple of messages on Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3, and want to spend some time on “big prayers.” Your article goes along with this idea perfectly. May I quote you? If so, it could be the first time, or one of the first anyway, that you get quoted in a positive light at a CC. 😉
“Everything happens for a reason”…is ironically the Philosophical thesis and Scientifically backed (to some degree) Thesis of Atheist who are Determinists like Nuero-scientist Sam Harris.
I was in the Determinist Camp at one time…but I have since come to the conclusion (at the moment) that it’s a mix of Free Will and Determinism.
There is certainly the Principle of Reaping and Sowing and Causality (Cause and Effect)…but there also seems to be Randomness with no rhyme or reason.
Reaping and Sowing Principle and Causality shows up in the form of of things like: Eat too much, you get fat (Everything happens for a reason). Or, a particular species evolves with a long neck to reach leaves in a tall tree or really nice person gets recognized in their community for their charitable work and a group buys them something nice or sends them on a trip etc. or particular geographic locations have a higher rate of natural disaster like tornadoes etc due to certain geological and meteorological or geographical set of circumstances.
Randomness tends to show up as illustrated even by the bible when it asserts “it rains on the just and unjust” and verses like “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.”…but even those verses that express randomness…tend to pin everything on God, making God the author of both good and bad, both good and evil, etc.
Of course…use anything you feel helpful.
You are exempt from asking permission. 🙂
I don’t believe everything happens for a reason. Sometimes people are just in the wrong place at the wrong time – or if it is good, they were in the right place at the right time. Like me tonight if I win the Powerball.
“I’ll pray that you never lose your hope in the mercy and goodness of God.”
Well, ironically, all you non-universalists / fundamentalists ‘have’ lost your hope in the mercy and goodness of God (if God is truly good and truly merciful and truly love and truly loves his enemies) as you cast the vast majority of humanity in hell…to be tortured forever with no end.
…that is so ironic.
It’s the Universalists who truly hope and believe in a merciful, loving and good God…not you.
God is merciful – why would you (not RB you – but any you) want him to force you to spend eternity with him if you (not RB you – but any you) hate him and just want to piss on him. Could you imagine the torture for eternity, being made to spend eternity with the one being you hate the most in this life?
Isn’t that grace and mercy?
I’ll gladly hang with God and Jesus if they’re real. I don’t want to go to hell or whatever. Neither do any of my Atheist or Agnostic friends I ask. They’ll gladly believe if they meet a real God on the other side.
Hell would be hanging with Fundamentalists forever…not God and Jesus. Just sayin’ LOL.
Reminder to self if I get sick or hurt not to send a prayer request to Michael for healing.
“They’ll gladly believe if they meet a real God on the other side.”
That is the flaw – they reject the God they have met on this side. They have no less information or experience than you have been provided with.
What you accept, they reject. The evidence is there, you have accepted it (even if you still have some doubts). They have looked at the exact same evidence and reject it.
I like Sarah’s story @ 30!
Seems like when great men such as Job, John, Daniel, Isaiah got a glimpse of God, they were pretty wiped out by the experience. Even Peter just standing before Jesus in His humility, after a demonstrable miracle, saw his own sinfulness in the light of Christ’s perfection and wanted the Lord to depart from him.
Israel didn’t want to even hear from God when they got their own chance – such is the reaction to God’s holiness. And God sure made a lot of effort with the tabernacle, Day of Atonement, High Priest and the rest of the Levitical system to make clear the holiness of God is not something one just rushes into…
But I’m sure all those folks who have rejected and even cursed God their whole lives will be just fine… 🙁
Michael, I would be honored if you would pray for me. Pray as the Lord leads.
As I will be praying for you and yours.
MLD said, “What you accept, they reject. The evidence is there, you have accepted it (even if you still have some doubts). They have looked at the exact same evidence and reject it.”
Seems Thomas the Apostle had the same evidence that the other Apostles had of Jesus’s miracles etc before Jesus died.
Seems Thomas the Apostle required much more to believe….and he got it.
Many of my Atheist friends are sincere…they simply don’t see the scant evidence the way we do and they don’t believe. I imagine a good and loving and merciful God who “loves his enemies” will give them all they need in the next…and very doubtful my Atheist friends will reject that evidence if they stand before God (or whatever the next entails).
Thomas doubted – Thomas did not deny.
And if ZI remember the text correctly, Thomas did not do what he vowed – he never did stick his hands in the holes etc.
Doubt and deny are 2 completely different things. You doubt but live your life as if Jesus / God are true. Your atheist buddies doubt and live as if there is no Jesus / God – which equates to deny.
Thomas never denied who Jesus was – he doubted the resurrection.
MLD said, “Doubt and deny are 2 completely different things. You doubt but live your life as if Jesus / God are true. Your atheist buddies doubt and live as if there is no Jesus / God – which equates to deny.
Thomas never denied who Jesus was – he doubted the resurrection.”
In some cases, I would agree, but not in other cases. I have Atheist and Agnostic friends who “love their neighbor” and even example “love your enemy” and they also exhibit love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control many times and they also act like the Good Samaritan, often.
They simply don’t see enough evidence to believe in the supernatural.
Seems Thomas’s doubt was worse, as he supposedly saw and knew and experienced so much….much less an Atheist or Agnostic who hasn’t seen any miracles or seen Jesus in the flesh etc.
“Seems Thomas’s doubt was worse, as he supposedly saw and knew and experienced ”
You are right – that is why there is a greater blessing to those who believe and do not see.
Now Peter actually denied … but that’s amother story.
When I spoke about living as if there is no God – I wasn’t speaking about ‘good moral living’ – I was talking about living with absolutely no acknowledgement of God … not even an occasional thank you – which I am sure that you do every once in a while.