Wednesday, July 2

Of Babies and Brick Walls

I'm going to let you all in on a little secret. But, shhh. You can't tell anyone. 

I absolutely love my job in the NICU, but... 

Occasionally I get really frustrated with the way things go at work. I know, hard to believe, but it's true. 

As a bedside nurse, I spend the most time of anyone (excepting parents sometimes) with the babies I take care of. I learn their cues, know how well or how poorly they can eat, recognize "normal" patterns for them, and see red flags when the babies have deviated from their norms. Generally the neonatologists that I work with are more than happy to hear the nurses' opinions and suggestions to help them in planning a baby's care and goals to get them home with their parents. However, this is not always the case. 

A while back there was a baby in our NICU that I had taken care of often. Very often. I knew him very well and knew that he could be quite a fussy baby. But then, it was different. He was not just fussy; it was almost as if he was in pain and was crying out anxiously for someone to do something. He was almost panicked in his cries. For about two weeks I kept on telling the practitioners and doctors that I thought something was wrong, and I persisted in asking them to check into what I thought might be the problem. And for about two weeks, I was practically ignored. The worst part about it was that the patient I was advocating for was completely helpless. He had no way to voice what was wrong or what his needs were-- that was supposed to be my job. I felt like a failure. I felt like I was shouting at a brick wall, and it was so frustrating.

Have you ever felt like that before? It is a maddeningly helpless feeling.

Can I let you in on another little secret? 

Sometimes I feel that way with God. I know, hard to believe, but it's true. 

In the past few years especially there have been things that I have prayed for so persistently. Good things. For people to make positive changes in their lives, for them to choose to let God in. I have prayed for overcoming power for personal struggles. I have prayed for answers. And sometimes, I feel like I am shouting those prayers at a brick wall. 

Have you ever felt like that before? It can be a maddeningly helpless feeling.

But you know what is comforting to me in all this helplessness? Regardless of the way that I feel when I pray to my God, I know that He hears me. I know this because history has shown it to be true.

God heard Hagar and Ishmael's cries in the desert.
God heard Isaac's pleas for Rebekah to have children.
God heard Israel's cries for relief from their slavery.
God heard David's prayers over and over again for deliverance from his enemies.
God heard Solomon's request for wisdom.
God heard the leper's entreaty for cleansing.
God heard Paul's prayers for each of the churches he planted.
God heard the Centurion's plea for healing for his servant.

And the list could go on. Forever. Even in my own life I could probably list a hundred times or more when God has heard and answered my prayers-- some even before I knew to pray for them.

So if you're feeling like your prayers are hitting a brick wall, take courage. And "know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when [we] call to him." Psalm 4:3, ESV