In my second pregnancy, I prayed that I wouldn’t be overdue. During the ten overdue days before my first child was born, I’d become cranky, cumbersome and frustrated.
So sure God agreed with my request and bursting with faith, I told my friends that definitely, absolutely this baby would be born on or before his due date. The due date neared, Mum came to stay with Melody while I was in hospital. (In those days mothers stayed in hospital for 6 days and it was better for both Mum and baby, in my opinion.)
The due date passed. Mum had to leave. I became cranky, cumbersome and frustrated. One afternoon while Melody napped, I threw myself on the bed (as much as a nine and a half month pregnant woman can throw herself on a bed) and cried a prayer that went something like this, “Lord, I can’t believe you haven’t answered my prayer.”
An unmistakable inside-my-heart voice answered, “. . . a time to be born.”
These few words let me know that no matter how much I prayed, cried and stomped my feet in a tantrum, God had a plan bigger than mine and it included a specific date for my child’s birth.
Prayer is a powerful instrument. It does change things . . . but not everything.
The little phrase, a time to be born, comes from a poetic passage in Solomon’s book of Ecclesiastes. He lists other realities of life that can’t be changed. For example, a farmer could dig up snow and push seeds into the frozen ground but no matter how much faith he has he won’t reap potatoes. There’s a time to plant and a time to reap.
Eugene Peterson comments on this passage – “there are realities of life that God puts together in His time, not ours.” He gives us grace to accept the situations He refuses to change.
I got up from my bed of weeping with a new spring in my step. Ten days past his due date my son Carson entered the world. The lesson I learned while waiting for him has stayed with me – it’s right to pray about everything but wrong to insist that God work on our schedules.