March 7, 2013

The God of Lost Causes

Growing up in the Catholic church we taught prayer was very important.  We had specific times each day that were dedicated to this discipline.  First thing when we woke we prayed the blessing upon our day, before meals we said the prayer of grace, on the way to school we prayed the rosary and at bedtime there were prayers for a safe sleep and blessings for those we loved.   Going to Catholic school we still prayed at the start and end of our school day and some teachers also prayed with us before our classes began.  

In between, I talked to God about all the things that were on my heart.  This has been a life long habit that has served me well and seen me through much.  To be honest, I don't know where this habit came from.  I think it really must be an innate instinct given to us by God to draw His lost children toward Him.  Otherwise, there is no real way to explain why so many who had no religious upbringing explain how they called upon God in their greatest time of need.  But that could be a long discussion far from my point today.  Which is that I always had a need and desire to communicate with God, just as great or greater than my human need to communicate with my fellow man, even though no one ever shared the possibility with me.

Something we were taught however, was that if you really needed God's ear on a certain matter there were specific "saints" who you should ask to intervene on your behalf.  If you want to sell your house Saint Joseph is your man.  If you are sick call on St. Blaise.  If your pet is sick then St. Francis is your man.  You need a husband?  Get in touch with St. Nicolas.  After searching high and low for the missing ring my grandmother had given me, my mother told me to ask St. Anthony to help me find it.  

But St. Jude, now he was my very favorite.  He was the patron saint of lost causes.  And the fact was most of my life was one great big fat hopeless lost cause.  I eventually came to realize that included all those prayers to St. Jude and the summer spent in Jersey asking St. Anthony to turn up a ring that never was found.  In fact, despite my mother's good intentions, I discovered these type of prayers always fall on deaf ears. 

However, the story doesn't end there.  Because I came to know something, indeed someone, far greater.  In 1994 I had the pleasure of meeting the God of lost causes.  The God who can do any thing, any time no matter how hopeless it seems.  All I have to do is ask and, unlike St. Jude and St. Anthony, He answers.  

Lately, I feel like a lost cause.  Even something so simple as sleep is something enormously unattainable for me.  

Last night as I crawled into bed, shortly after 11, Carmella started crying.  She has come down with a cold and was having a little trouble sleeping.  Allen checked in on her and got her settled back into bed and we settled back down ourselves.  No sooner had we finished our prayer time when I heard another noise.  

That's when I came to consider if maybe God doesn't want me to give up sleep.  The reasons that my sleep are disturbed far outweigh the good nights of rest I have had the last 7 months.  Hypoglycemia.  Restless legs.  Asthma attacks.  Asthma medicine that makes the heart race.  Lots to think about.  Trips to the bathroom.  And my new favorite, mice.

It seems some rodents have taken up residence in our attic.  So, it could be they have been there all along.  But since Sunday night they are lingering right above our bed.  As soon as we get into bed and everything is quiet, the scratching begins.  I HATE MICE!  Truly, there is nothing else that bothers me aside from snakes and mice.  Bugs, spiders, whatever... they are annoying but they don't give me the creepy crawlies like mice.  And there they are.  All night long.  Running from here to there and back again right above my head.  Just taunting me with the fact that there is nothing I can do about it.  

Last night Allen got up and put on some music to drown out the noise but it was too late. I knew they were there and it took me forever to clear it from my head and settle into sleep.  The whole time I was thinking about how much I really wanted to get done on Thursday before we had company on Friday.   Oh, how I really, really wanted to sleep.  I dozed in and out until about 4 am when I just couldn't take the tossing and turning anymore.  I grabbed my Bible study and headed to the basement where the light wouldn't disturb anyone else.  

Eventually, I got the headache.  The dull ache that forms behind my eyes if I don't get enough sleep.  There is no effective medicine for migraines that is safe to take during pregnancy.  So, even though the sun was starting to come up and I knew the family would be moving soon, I grabbed an ice pack and laid down on  sofa.  As I felt the cool relief set in, I thanked the Lord for ice.  Can you imagine if Esther or Ruth had a headache?  No pills.  No ice.  Just pain.  But we have the joy of frozen eye masks.

So, as I laid there, I became overwhelmed at the cooking, cleaning, and shopping I wanted to get done.  I wondered how I would even begin to do it with little sleep, a throbbing head, and a sick baby.  Sounds like a lost cause, doesn't it?  I thought so.  And then I got really smart and I went to the one who could do something about it.  I simply asked Him to make the sleep I had to be enough for the day ahead and to give me the energy I needed to do what needed to be done.

And guess what?  I didn't need to lie down mid morning.  Something I normally must do even on days when I "sleep a full night."  I worked right through lunch.  As a matter of fact, I forgot to eat lunch all together.  Which is not really a good thing if you are insulin dependent... but let's not go there.  I felt so good, I just kept going.  And then around 2:00 I sat down in the kitchen.  Kaitlin asked how I was doing.  I thought about it for a minute and realized I felt better than I have in a long time.  

And that's the God I love.  The God who can answer my simplest prayers to show Himself amazingly powerful and strong.  The God who cares about even my littlest needs.  The God who can do great and mighty things.  The God who can stretch 3 hours of broken sleep into 8 good hours if I just ask.  

The God of lost causes.  


  1. Amen! God is good...ALL the time! This is just the reminder I need right now in the last weeks of our wait!

  2. Amen is right! Your posts always inspire me, and this one is no exception. I'm so guilty of drawing God closer to me when I feel like I need Him more. Truth is, I need Him ALL the time! For you, I pray for rest. And I hope you get rid of those mice - I hate them too!