Praying for a Math Test?

This blog is dedicated to my pursuit of seeing glimpses of God’s glory in the midst of my mundane. Recently, however, my days have felt less than mundane. Mundane routine tasks have been replaced with anxious thoughts, suffocating fears and methodic planning (see Daddy’s Girl for the reason why).

Yet, even in these chaotic days, God has still allowed me to see glimpses of His hand at work. Glimpses of His breathtaking beauty. Glimpses of His unfathomable love. Glimpses of His unending grace.

One of these glimpses came Friday afternoon in the parking lot of my kids school. I was waiting for my son to finish taking a math test. Actually, he was retaking a test. He had not done well at all on the first attempt. And his gracious teacher had offered a retake. Don’t you love grace when it involves math!

My son has been suffering from middle school boy syndrome and pre-summer fatigue. It is a battle to keep him engaged at school. He’s always been a great student and his studies have come easy to him. But seventh grade is harder. And with mere weeks left in school, it is hard for him to stay focused.

Yet while I see his lower grades as a symptom of the aforementioned diagnosis, he sees them as proof that he’s just not smart anymore. “I’m just not good at math anymore,” he told me following the test. “I was in elementary school, but not anymore.”

I wanted to lecture. I wanted to point out the obvious, but by the grace of God, I simply offered him a challenge. “You work as hard as you can this week studying, really studying, and then retake the test. I bet you will do much better. You can’t say you aren’t good at something that you don’t even try for. Try and then we will talk. But until you try, I don’t want to hear you talk like that.”

So he studied all week, really studied.

I sat in my car that Friday afternoon and prayed for him.

Friday afternoon – The day after I found out my dad needs triple bypass surgery. Four days after I had been praying about big things with my book. Ten days after I had been praying for a precious mom of small children who was having surgery to remove breast cancer.

Suddenly, I felt foolish. Should I be praying for a math test? A math test. Not life and death stuff. Not life changing stuff. A math test!

I felt foolish. “Lord, is it ok to pray for a math test?”

Irrational thoughts started to swarm my mind, “What if God doesn’t answer a bigger prayer because He’s busy answering my math test prayer? Maybe I’ve asked too much of Him recently…maybe I’m being too selfish with my prayers. Maybe I should just stop praying for awhile, surely God’s sick of hearing from me….”

“Pray without ceasing.”
“Ask, Seek, Knock.”
“Present your requests to God.”

Oh, the precious whisper of the Holy Spirit! The life-giving sound of truth attaching to your heart.

I smiled at the gentle whisper of the Savior who cares about what we care about – who loves those we love more than we ever could.

And I prayed. For a math test. And for the boy taking the math test. I prayed out loud in my car, big heaven bending prayers – for a math test.

And you know what? God showed off His power in a bigger way than I could have ever asked for! My son got an 100% on his do-over test! He’s never gotten a 100% on a math test ever!

Isn’t that just like God though? The Bible tells us that He delights in bringing glory to His Name. This prayer wasn’t really about a math test. This experience wasn’t really about a grade (although my son is really happy with his grade!)

No, that afternoon was all about a good and generous Father teaching his hurting confused daughter what it means to really pray. What it means to have faith. What it means to trust God with the big things and the small.

He is a great God and I could not imagine walking through this life without Him!

So today I will get on a plane and fly to my daddy’s side. I will hug him and pray with him before his surgery. I will sit with my mom and my aunt and wait for word from the surgeon. I will sit with him in the days after the surgery and pray for his healing and peace. I will exchange prayers for small stuff for prayers for big stuff. But no matter what, I will continue to hold the hand of the One who is more than capable of answering them all.

Much love from this Daddy’s girl,

Jen

Dale Carnegie

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