I am sure I have never drank in the sun quite so deeply.
I am perched on a rock wall, bushes behind me, a parking lot before me. Even my heart does not wax poetic about beauty in this parking lot, but this is my spot, parking lot or not, and I drink up the sun. It’s reprieve from my desk, from the chasing of dreams in an unfamiliar place while wearing high heels.
It occurs to me while I eat lunch here, dress getting dirty on the rocks, that maybe now–now that my prayers have been answered–maybe now, I lose my credibility with you. Maybe now that I could write a post titled, “On Everything Working Out,” you throw your hands up, and where we used to identify because of the ache that comes from praying hard, we now find ourselves on different sides of the divide. And I am afraid that here, I lose you. I am afraid because the very thing I rested my provision on–that what the Lord promised would be–has come to pass, and I look back across the divide to those who pray harder yet.
This fallen world of ours is the only place where hope turning into the tangible can get tangled up with fear until it all looks the same. But I have never drank the sun quite so deeply, here on my lunch break, and I ask again. I pray still.
I pray that fear leaves, flees, that the grace of God would wash me of it again, so that my knees do not shake as I walk back inside or as I write this.
I pray for those across the divide, those who are losing by the minute, losing babies, marriages, dollars, faith, their favorite shirts. I pray for those who are lost themselves; I ask that they may be found, that we sheep who are part of the 99 call for them to come back. I pray our baa-ing reaches their ears and I pray that they point themselves home.
I say another prayer of thanks, only it feels different on my lips. For months, I wrapped my soul around the truth that I am grateful or I am nothing, and I learned how to serve up thimblefuls of gratitude on days when my faith waned. “Even today,” I would whisper, “I am thankful for…cheese.” But here, in the land of Big Prayers Answered, of Promises Fulfilled, of Just in Time, my gratitude is almost paralyzing. I approach the throne meekly, the holiness of God and the inadequacy of myself clashed up next to each other as if they fit. Before my very eyes, His holiness begins to leak onto me.
I ask if I can still be used here, in the land of the reaping. I ask if people will think I don’t understand, if I’m the one whose prayers got answered. I say that I know this is silly, but…
I open my eyes and I’m still in the parking lot, still dirtying my dress, still a girl with a prayer.
Maybe that’s what He says to me this day: Pray still, for mountains will move. Pray after you’ve been answered, for this is a big world and there are many, many things to miss when our eyes keeping drifting to our own lives. Pray, He says, for I hear you.
In the season of wildflowers, when your heart drops with both gratitude and uncertainty, for there seem to be so many prayers unanswered, when you are wet in the river of blessing, drink up the sunlight. Let your heart burn with gratitude, let your lips turn blessing into praise.
Pray still, and then find yet another promise.
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony….So when the Samaritans came to [Jesus], they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers.
They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” –John 4:39-42