Black Bees And Unanswered Prayers
My son has autism. In his case one of the biggest impacts is in regard to his emotions. For him everything is magnified. Disappointment is despair. Happiness is ecstasy. Worry is terror. The common, everyday experiences of life can quickly become a tremendous obstacle. He cannot move forward, particularly in the case of perceived threats.
Recently my son asked me to pray for him, because he was “scared of the black bees at school.” Now, I have no idea what he meant by black bees (probably wasps). But to him they were monsters that threatened his favorite class at school. Black bees on the playground made enjoying recess impossible. While other kids were running and laughing he was constantly on the lookout, ever aware and ever fearful of the impending doom that these bees represented in his mind. (Some classmate had told my son that “black bees will kill you.” Thanks, kid. Appreciate the help :() So, I prayed. I even had my son pray himself. It was one of the sweetest, most heartfelt prayers that I have ever heard. “God, make the black bees go away. I am scared of them. I know you can do anything.”
The next morning found me praying with tremendous passion. I begged God to do something about those black bees. For me this was a tremendous opportunity for my son to experience firsthand the power of prayer and the faithfulness of God. Furthermore, in light of both my son’s autism and my wife’s own bout with cancer, I felt like God owed me one. Recent events in my life had me feeling confused at best and completely discouraged at worst. A constant flood of bad news and worrisome situations was pressing down upon my spirit. I felt like a man caught in an ocean current, struggling against a powerful undertow that slowly but steadily pulled me away. Every day was a fight. Every day was a struggle to stay afloat. But every time I managed to come up for air another wave would hit me in the face. As silly as black bees might sound to you, they were just that serious to me. Yes, I had prayed for God to take care of the bees. But in my heart I was really crying out for a sign that He still cared, some small evidence that I had not been abandoned.
I rushed home from work that day and dashed into the house. My son came running to greet me with his customary hug and shout of “Dad!!!” I wasted no time in asking the one question that had weighed upon my mind all day. “Will, what happened to the black bees?” My son’s response was a look of painful confusion and concern. “Dad, God didn’t make the black bees go away.”
The remainder of the evening was a profound struggle. My mind rehearsed the seemingly insignificant events surrounding those black bees. I wondered why God didn’t respond. I wondered why He had allowed my son to have autism in the first place. I wondered what I was doing wrong in my life. I wondered if prayer even really worked. But most of all I felt two things that night. I felt ashamed. And I felt afraid. Ashamed that 20 years of “professional” ministry had left me so ill-equipped to deal with the realities of life. Afraid as I wrestled with the thought that 2 decades of belief were becoming unglued. And I cowered before the idea that maybe God really didn’t care about me at all (or even existed for that matter). And all because of some black bees…
The next morning I awoke to a simple thought. “Call the school and tell his teacher.” One phone call did the job. The custodian took care of the problem with a can of Raid. The issue with the black bees was resolved. My son was able to enjoy recess again. But in my spirit I continued to wrestle with God and His seeming indifference to the previous day’s dilemma as well as the much larger problems in my life. Presently, I have a number of “black bees” that are tormenting me. No, they are not flying insects but their “sting” is a hundred times worse. Just like my son I too have prayed and have had to come to grips with the reality of unanswered prayer. I know God is able. I am confident that God can do anything. I just don’t know why He won’t answer, why He won’t respond. At the end of the day all I want is for those “black bees” to go away. That’s all. “Father, make the black bees go away. I am scared of them. I know you can do anything.”
Just so you know, this devotional isn’t the type that will have a “and they all lived happily ever after” ending. Too many times as Christians we ignorantly embrace the belief that faith is an exemption from pain and suffering. I’m just trying to be honest. I’m just trying to be transparent. No, I’m not angry at God. Not like I was before. But I still have questions, issues, and hurts that leave me asking “Why? What does this mean?” In the next few blogs I am going to examine some of the things that God has shared with me over the years and recent months regarding suffering and disappointment. I don’t pretend to have all the answers. But if you’re interested, then I encourage you to join me in this journey. Together, maybe we can take the Raid of His Word and see what it can do to those “black bees” that plague each of our lives.
If you enjoyed this devotional, here are two others you might like as well:
1. “God Keeps Telling Me Not Yet”… http://justathoughtdevotionals.com/2011/03/10/god-keeps-telling-me-not-yet/
2. “God Knows What He Is Doing”… http://justathoughtdevotionals.com/2010/12/15/god-knows-what-he-is-doing/