Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:6-7).
Since the beginning of quarantine for the coronavirus, I participate in a small group of Catholic women who are memorizing two Scripture verses a week. It has been more challenging than I expected (my forty-four-year-old brain is unused to memorizing, and while the Gettysburg Address came easily to my memory in high school, two weekly verses has proven to be a stretch at this point in my life). Nonetheless, I try my best not only to memorize the verses but to meditate on their meaning for me, and this, too, has challenged me.
It astounds me how going back to the super basics of my faith never gets old and never gets easy. Take, for instance, last week’s verse on prayer: in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Growing up, my missionary parents lived the witness of praying in everything. We prayed for the weather, for health, for miraculous conversions (that happened), for our coffee maker to be healed (it was), for God to multiply the food for unexpected guests (he did). Over and over, God lovingly showed me that no request is too big or small to bring to him.
Enter the coronavirus. My daily prayers became for protection for my family, my daughter with cystic fibrosis, our missionaries, the world, for healing, for peace, for provision for the poor. These prayers consumed my time with Jesus, and I started to forget to pray “in everything.”
Then I got a really cute pair of shorts. A gift from my husband who knows I generally hate shorts, these fit perfectly, are super modest and comfortable, and became my daily uniform during quarantine. I could play outside with my kids in them and still look nice for the rest of the day. I love my new shorts. (Hang in there, I will eventually make a point beyond the cuteness of these shorts). Anyway, seeing how much I loved my shorts, my husband suggested I buy myself another pair. I balked. I don’t need two pairs of cute shorts, I thought. And yet . . .
The next morning in prayer, wearing my comfortable shorts, I sat down to work on my memory verse. Try as I may to focus, I was distracted by the thought of possibly ordering more shorts for myself while they were on sale. In everything . . . make your requests known to God. I read the words and stopped. I felt as though God was tapping me on the shoulder: “Do you want another pair of those shorts?” Surely, God could not care about this silliness. I refocused on the needs of the world in this pandemic. The question hung in my mind. Finally, feeling like a selfish child, I said, “Okay, Lord, I would like another pair of these exact same shorts. If you want me to have them, provide them.” I felt free of that distraction, and returned to prayer.
Later that day, the company I ordered the shorts from sent me a totally unexpected credit via email that covered the cost of, you guessed it, another pair of shorts! Could it be that in the face of the overwhelming needs of the world, we have a father who cares about cute shorts? Well, I wouldn’t make that theological statement, but his word says that we should make our requests known in everything; I know that he cares about me. He loves me, he loves my family, and no request is too big or small for his love.