It was the call I was both awaiting and dreading. My driving school called to say my driving test was finally scheduled (six months after actually doing the driving classes) for Monday, and practise was on Saturday afternoon. I was furious, even though I had been waiting to get it done. I had been down with the flu for the past week, it was pouring cats and dogs, and I couldn't remember how to drive.
I was filled with a sense of dread and gloom. Nothing about this call seemed propitious. Have you notice how physical sickness makes one even more prone to depression and anxiety? The Saturday practice began to seem like a mighty impassable mountain.
I knew what I had to do. I had to pray. I didn't feel like praying. What could God do about my stupid problems? Anyway the problem was probably all in my head, which didn't make it any smaller to me, but made it less likely that it was important enough to pray about. I once heard a priest say, "Stop bothering God with your problems." "God isn't someone who looks for parking space for you." "He's not some kind of genie who grants us wishes." "God isn't a vending machine." Any of these sound familiar?
And yet, and yet... Jesus is the one who said, "Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." (Lk 11:9 -10) Not to mention, crazy talk like, "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you." (Jn 15:7)
He didn't have to say any of that. He didn't have to make extravagant promises. Why did He? St. John Marie Vianney said, "Our dear God loves to be bothered."
Over many years of trying to understand my God and my faith, I have come to believe (in spite of my changing moods) that God wants me to know of His personal love and concern for me, and THAT is why He wants me to come to Him with my seemingly small and silly problems. When I ask, my faith grows, and I come just a little closer to understanding the God of love, the God who enters into our world and problems to show us He is Emmanuel, 'God with us'.
I also realized that when I asked I needed to ask
a. with faith (even if just the size of a mustard seed)
b. with an openness to His will being different from my desires
c. with a detachment from the final outcome
d. with a greater love and focus on the Giver than on the gift
So I asked. I said, "Lord you know I'm scared of this driving practise and test. I ask that I will wake up feeling better and without fever on Saturday. I ask that the rain will stop on Saturday afternoon and the sun will come out so I can practise without a problem. I ask that the practise will be easy and driving will seem less scary."
The next morning I woke up without fever, feeling better. It was still a rainy day. My dad knew I was worried so he suddenly decided to take me for a half hour of driving practice. I had forgotten everything, but it was easier to remember with him than with a bunch of strangers from the driving school.
That afternoon I got ready to leave, but the rain was pouring down. Everything seemed cold, wet and dreary. I really, really did not want to leave the house. Everything within me rebelled against leaving. But I had to. Once again I prayed, this time aloud. "Lord, PLEASE let the rain slow down and stop for me. And let the sun come out!" I put on all my rain gear, got on to my two-wheeler, and started riding into the rain. I kept praying aloud as I rode (while noting that I've become one of those religious nuts constantly muttering prayers). And as I rode, the rain started slowing down. By the time I reached the ground for the practise, it was a slight drizzle.
The practise turned out to be super easy, and over in less than five minutes. My driver instructor told us that all we had to do was drive along the track in the shape of an eight, and they wouldn't ask any questions. I was able to do it very easily. As I left the ground to stop at the driving school office, the sun peeked out, and I realized all my fears and anxieties had dried up too.
I have seen my share of miracles, and yet I'm still hesitant to ask for them. But why not? Our dear Lord is waiting for us to give Him the precious gift of our expectant faith and trust.
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