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The other day I walked into my house and found an intruder.
He looked mean, too.
My husband calls creatures like him mud daubers. They’re a type of wasp, with stingers poised to pierce delicate skin such as mine.
The intruder didn’t seem fazed that he was somewhere he didn’t belong and just buzzed around, probably plotting an attack on my bare arms.
I ran into my bedroom and peeked through the door into the living room and did some plotting myself. Since attacking him wasn’t high on my list of strategic moves lest he get mad and dive bomb stinger first into my flesh, laughing while I scream no doubt, I did the only thing I knew to do — I prayed.
But first, I opened the sliding glass door to the patio, albeit wasting precious A/C energy, and asked God to direct the creature out the door to keep him and I both safe. I even placed higher importance on his safety than mine and didn’t mention that if I were to successfully smash him on the ceiling or wall with a broom it would mess up the paint job my husband did last year.
No, instead I told God that I cared about this little creature that he made and probably loves and I didn’t want it to die, so would he please, please, pleeeeze guide the little critter out the glass door? In Jesus name, amen.
Then I waited for God to answer my prayer.
But he didn’t and I got mad.
Yes, I wanted the wasp gone, but I also wanted God to answer my prayer, and not just that prayer but my deeper prayers that sometimes seem to rise not much further than the treetops, if that high.
I waited for a while longer as the mud dauber found a spot on the ceiling to camp out and laugh at me. Finally, I left the house to meet my husband for dinner at Outback, ticked at the stupid wasp that wouldn’t cooperate with my prayer request.
Later, when we came home, the wasp was still on the ceiling — I think it was laughing — not about to go anywhere. And God obviously wasn’t going to move it either.
My husband took a broom and swatted at it and it disappeared. However, we didn’t see it fly away or fall dead or injured anywhere, neither did it squish all over the ceiling. It wasn’t stuck on the broom or on top of the ceiling fan — and we haven’t seen it since.
Although I was and am still glad that the stinging intruder is gone, I was and still am disappointed that God didn’t answer my prayer the way I thought he would — the way I thought he should.
That’s my problem. I tried to use God as an errand boy or magic genie, asking him to do something for me right then and there. It’s not like I expected him to stand at attention, salute and say, “Yes, Ma’am,” but I had hoped he would answer in the way I imagined so I would know that he loves me.
It reminded me of the time I lived in Maine and needed a winter parka. I prayed for one, hoping it would appear on the doorstep or next to my car with a hand-addressed note so I could “prove” to my neighbors that God answers prayer.
But that didn’t happen. My husband worked some overtime and we went to Sears and bought one. It was light blue with fur around the hood.
My husband got rid of the mud dauber, too. Both times my husband was God’s answer to my prayers, which I’m not complaining about.
Oh, right. I am complaining about it.
The fact is, I got the parka I needed and the wasp is gone and that’s what I had wanted. I wanted not to be stung. The wasp went away — it just didn’t go out the patio door.
So now I’m left with a huge question: Do I trust God with my prayers — “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” — or don’t I? And if I do, do I trust that, in his goodness, he will answer as he sees fit and that he will do what’s in my and everyone’s best interest?
I want to answer yes, and I pray that God will have mercy on me until I can.
Nancy Kennedy is a syndicated church columnist.