When Soccer Dude was about 6 or 7 years old (could that really be 10 whole years ago?) He was almost hit by a bus. It is kinda a long story that really could only happen in our neck of the woods. (Forgive me if you have already heard this story! But, I must say it is one worth telling and one worthy of me spending brain power on not forgetting.) The road in front of the university was closed for construction. New pavement had been laid, and it was smooth and beautiful. It was Sunday and there was no one around (rare), so we decided to let Soccer Dude practice his new skill of bike riding on the smooth surface. It was going great until: 1. He got further ahead of me than I had planned. 2. A bus for some unknown reason had come behind the construction barrier and was cruising down the same smooth road that my oblivious 7 year old was on. I saw it all playing out before my eyes. There was nothing I could do to stop it. That is when I heard a crazy scream come from my own lips….”Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!”
I could think of nothing to do. It seemed as if my soul took over for me and yelled for the only one who could help me in that moment.
I have thought of this story often over the past 18 months. I don’t know about you, but there are so many times I just don’t even know what to pray.
When I am sitting in a doctor’s office and wondering what the outcome of a test will be for my son – “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”
Standing in the cemetery next to my mother’s grave – “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”
Filing paperwork upon paperwork in the quest for a visa – “Jesus.”
Holding my sobbing three year old in need of some grace after a tantrum – “Jesus, Jesus.”
Hugging a dear friend who just lost her husband to a heart attack at the early age of 53. “Oh, Jesus.”
When I get miraculous news of the birth of a new niece. “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”
Sitting in the passenger side of our Expedition with Soccer Dude behind the wheel learning to drive. “JESUS!”
I am learning to pray in a whole new way – in a way that is just a cry from my heart when my soul longs for God. Taking a breath, pausing, uttering HIS name and knowing that is enough.
I am calling on the name that brings hope. The name that brings comfort. The name that is so powerful and gentle. My Jesus who died – but more than that – was raised to life — The One who is at the right hand of God interceding for us. (Romans 8:34). His name I can call on when all other words fail me. I can come to him when I am overwhelmed with the joy and beauty of this life and in my desperation over the pain, injustice and heart ache. In confidence I come. That is the most beautiful part of this. The world wants us to think that when we are desperate we are a groveling hopeless mess. Actually, when we come to a point where we are only able to say his name, we can do it with confidence knowing that he gets us. Knowing he desires to help us.
We do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have One who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet He did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. — Hebrews 4:15-16
Recently, our new teenage son yelled out for me. “Mom!” My head came up and I dropped all that I was doing to go to his aid. He needed a hand – it was a small thing, but I delighted in knowing that he was beginning to trust me. To call me mom. To seek out my help. How much more does our Heavenly Father delight in us doing the same?
There are times for long conversations with my Savior. Times for praying Scripture, reciting the Lord’s Prayer, and times for writing it all down in my journal. But I think my most honest prayers are the ones that are covered just by uttering his name.
I think when this crazy white woman was screaming his name in the middle of her Asian neighborhood – God saw. He knew there was nothing I could do to stop that bus. He knew my heart was stopping and I was about to panic. Did he stop the bus from hitting Soccer Dude? I don’t know. The outcome may have been the same if I hadn’t yelled his name – but my heart wouldn’t have been. In that moment I knew what I trusted in….or better, in whom I trusted. I am working to trust that name in all of the moments of my life.
I am no theologian. Just a woman facing real problems in the world seeking answers. But I am learning that a simple prayer can make the difference in the pain and suffering I see around me.