It was our first year of marriage and Raquel asked the same question she had posed many times before: “Do you want to pray and read some Scripture together tonight?” I said yes, but she knew I didn’t mean it. It wasn’t necessarily that I didn’t want to pray with her. We just had mismatched desires for spiritual intimacy. She wanted extended Bible study and prayer, and she wanted it all of the time. I just wanted to get it over with and go to sleep. She wasn’t having it.
I stared at the TV and fought back tears while watching an interview with American missionaries Gracia and Martin Burnham, who were haggard, filthy and appeared to be disoriented.
I have a friend who was once known for her strength, and now she’s becoming known for her weakness. Rachel Wilhelm, a popular guest writer here, has felt her body break down over the last year. The only diagnosis doctors can offer is fibromyalgia, a mystery illness known for pain, acute weakness, and frequent sleep disturbance. Yet somehow in the midst of it, God has taken Rachel’s weakness and made something strong out of it. Here’s her story, in her own words:
Nine years ago, I asked God to give me something a lot of people would think was ridiculous: a parking spot. It wasn’t just any parking spot though.
When Raquel and I got engaged, we got a gift from our registry, and we didn’t recognize the name. I think it was a $15 stainless steel salt shaker or something like that. All that was listed was a guy’s name and phone number. When I asked Raquel if she knew the person, she was certain she didn’t. That’s when I guessed what had happened: The guy sent the gift to the wrong couple. So I decided to call him, and that’s when things got really interesting.
This morning, I was driving my six-year-old daughter to school, and she said, “Daddy, what are we going to talk about?” As morbid as it may seem, I decided to talk to her about what to do if she’s in a situation where someone is shooting a gun in her school. She wanted to know what kind of person would do that, and I told her that it’s the kind of person whose heart is full of Satan.
The other night, I was putting my daughters down to bed, and my oldest girl said, “Daddy, can you stay in here for a few minutes?” “It’s getting late,” I said, “and you need to go to sleep.” “Daddy,” she said, looking like she was going to cry, “I missed you all day at school, but I didn’t realize it until now.”
Today, my family and I were over at my friend Tim’s house for a gathering, and his son was throwing up, which is a concern. He has a potentially serious disorder called Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome which, if it gets out of control, can be debilitating.
The night before my wedding as I was drifting to sleep, I decided to ask God for a small favor.
Whenever I’m anxious, I often feel paralyzed and unable to pray. In those moments, I remember two elderly women who taught me a simple way to connect with God.
A couple of weeks ago, there was an unexpected turn of events in my life that knocked the wind out of me. At first, it agitated me; then agitation turned into anxiety, and anxiety turned into a low-grade feeling of panic. I didn’t have a lot of control over the circumstances, and every moment I left things unresolved, it weighed on me more heavily.
The other morning, I got up at 5:00 a.m., put on my gym clothes in a sleepy stupor, and got in the car. As I pulled out of the driveway, the thought hit me: I really ought to pray more often.
The other night, my three-year-old daughter sat down to eat, and she led the prayer. It started out as a simple word of gratitude for what she was about to eat, but the way she ended the prayer struck me.
The other day, my wife and I were driving down a two-lane road in the country when we got stuck behind a big ol’ Mack truck that was stuck behind a slowly-moving tractor. We figured we would be in for a long wait – we did not anticipate, however, that we were about to watch a truck driver nearly kill somebody.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but I’m a fast eater. Regardless of whether it’s a garden salad or a filet mignon, once I get my hands on my utensils, I start cutting, sticking, and scooping up food at a steady pace. I politely shove it into my mouth and swallow, and then I either move onto the next bite or start multitasking.