A family vacation helps one man come to terms with his unanswered prayers.
The people spoke against God and Moses: “Why did you bring us up from Egypt to kill us in the desert, where there is no food or water. And we detest this miserable bread!" Numbers 21:5 (The Daily Life Bible)
The digital map told me our drive would last eight hours. Disneyland, here we come! With two kids in the back seat and my wife by my side, we left in the predawn darkness. What the map didn’t tell me was how tedious the drive would be: flat, straight countryside with very few good stops and not a lot to see.
My wife and I quickly got bored. Our kids did too. Around hour three, “Are we there yet?” began.
“Yes,” I said, “get out now.” The kids laughed. Two hours later, I could no longer find the humor. Every whiny syllable ratcheted up my blood pressure. My normally delightful children transmogrified before my rearview mirror into demanding little gremlins, gnawing on my last nerve.
I thought of Moses in the wilderness. Two million followers delivering 40 years of grousing. His frustration level had to have been off the charts. As the “Happiest Place on Earth” drew closer, I was about to lay into the urchins, when the Holy Spirit exercised impeccable timing: Bill,what if you sound like that to God?
I thought of my boatload of unanswered prayers. Had I turned them into occasions for whining? The trials I thought I didn’t deserve. Lord, have You brought me here just to torment me? Had my prayers devolved into a litany of complaints, a sanctimonious equivalent of “Are we there yet?” I whispered my apology to God.
“Are we there yet?” the kids asked again. I swallowed my planned rebuke. “Two more hours,” I said. “But who wants ice cream?”
Lord, teach me to enjoy the journey and trust Your map, no matter how long, painful, twisty, or boring the road may be.
How to make your prayers express emotions, hopes and dreams with passion and variety.