even for the little things

Written by Glynn Young

Glynn Young is the team lead for online strategy and communications for a Fortune 500 company in the Midwest. He blogs at http://faithfictionfriends.blogspot.com

October 24, 2011

kneeling, prayer

I am lying on my stomach on an operating table, waiting for a doctor to administer the third cortisone shot to my back. It’s one of those bulging disc / pinched nerve things. And I ask myself if I should be praying.

I know what to expect: first the local anesthetic (slight pinch); then 10 seconds of sharp pain in my calf, enough to make me grunt and grip the sides of the table. Then I’ll sit in recovery for 10 minutes with a Diet Pepsi, sending a text message to my wife in the waiting room: “All OK. Out in a few.”

So should I pray when I know the process and the outcome? My answer is yes .

A vague sense of guilt hangs around my question. I have a list of prayer needs, and my back pain seems minor.

My friend Charity is undergoing radiation treatments for a recurrence of cancer.

The father-in-law of a good friend at work is battling cancer in several parts of his body; he’s younger than I am and expecting his first grandchild in the spring.

Another friend continues to suffer from the effects of a stroke.

A woman I’ve known for more than 20 years has been religiously faithful to get mammograms, and this time she got an all clear – only to be told a mistake had been made in her reading – Stage IV breast cancer. She’s fighting and winning.

A young man in college is so overwhelmed by responsibilities and life that he’s considering suicide.

Friends are looking for jobs and finding nothing but closed doors and despair.

A couple going through a standard adoption process learn their case worker has screwed up so badly that the adoption could be jeopardized. The little boy they want to adopt has been living with them more than a year.

My back pain seems minor, almost trivial, in comparison. It’s been improving, slowly, since August, when I was taking so much pain medicine that I couldn’t drive for almost three weeks. But it seems selfish to pray for this in the face of so much suffering. I have been blessed beyond belief with my wonderful wife, my two fine sons and daughter-in-law, and my spectacular grandson; a good job; and so much more.

And yet.

My prayers to God resemble conversations. We talk. I talk and he listens. Or I just sit and listen, even when it seems I’m listening to silence. As surprising as it is to me, he wants to know everything on my mind and in my heart, the big stuff and the little stuff.

He wants to hear it all. Nothing is too trivial because it comes from the heart he created, the soul he breathed existence into, and the personality he shaped.

So I pray about my third cortisone shot and my back pain.

And I thank him for caring about this, too.

35 Comments

  1. Nancy Franson

    Yes. All of it. He came to redeem and restore all of it. Every ache and pain. Definitely worth talking over with Him, and listening for His response.

    Reply
    • Glynn

      The listening is the key part. thanks for reading and commenting, Nancy.

      Reply
  2. Heaven

    Very meaningful and lovely share… I am touched by it. 

    Reply
    • Glynn

      Thanks for reading.

      Reply
  3. Diana trautwein

    Oh, Glynn – I know these feelings so very well. Let me tell you a small, sweet story that is true. Our family was in the midst of tearing grief over the illness and decline of my oldest daughter’s husband, a man I had known his entire life as his mother and I were childhood friends. His agony was palpable – but it was also communicated in unfortunate ways to his 3 sons, who were about 13/10/6 when the worst of it began and were 17/14/10 when he died three years ago. And there were several other difficult things going on in our extended family circle and within the church community in which I was serving as associate pastor. One day I got a phone call from a woman I had never met requesting an appointment about possibly enrolling in seminary at mid-life. My alma mater (from which I, too, had graduated mid-life) had recommended she visit with me as I was the closest alum to her geographically. She drove 100 miles to see me and I never saw her again. 

    And her story was so difficult, so painful to hear. Yet she radiated joy and peace. I told her just a little about our own family saga and said something to the effect of, “But that is nothing compared to what you and so many others must face, day after day.” And she stopped me short, looked me full in the eye and said: “Your suffering is your suffering – it is painful and difficult for you and God cares about it. Please don’t fall prey to the insidious comparisons we can all so easily make about this.” Those words just caught me right where I needed to be caught. Your suffering is your suffering – and God cares about it. This is truth, Glynn. And bulging back discs are true suffering. God cares, God invites your prayers – and mine, and everyone else’s – about ALL of it. Thanks for this! (Personally, I have often wondered if this woman – dropped in my lap in such a strange way – was an angel….a messenger of God’s word to me when I needed it. Whatever it was – I am grateful for her word to me that day.)

    Reply
    • Glynn

      Diana – thanks so much for sharing this story. And whether she was an official angel or not — she seems to have acted abnd spoken like one.

      Reply
  4. Karen

    This is so beautiful.  Yes He listens and what we consider small, He sees as important.  Thanks Glynn-  kind of puts some of my stuff in perspective : )

    Reply
    • Glynn

      Thanks, Karen, for stopping by and commenting.

      Reply
  5. Patricia W Hunter

    So sorry about your back pain and those shots, Glynn.  Wonderful post. I think God wants us to bring everything to Him in prayer, not only because He loves and cares, but because it is an acknowledgement of His sovereignty over all things. When we take it all to Him in prayer – the backaches and the stage IV cancers – we are admitting that it is only by His grace that we take the next breath and find strength for the moment. And it’s been my experience that when we have this ongoing conversation with Him where we go to Him with each challenge…and He gets us through that “10 seconds of sharp pain”…we are ever so grateful in ways that empower us to minister to those with even greater needs.  

    Reply
    • Glynn

      Great thoughts, Patricia. thanks for reading and commenting.

      Reply
  6. Linda Chontos

    This is so encouraging Glynn. I’ve thought those same thoughts. So often my “needs” pale in comparison to those of others, but He really does care about every little thing. What a loving Father He is.
    I’m praying for you too.

    Reply
    • Glynn

      Thanks, Linda. Prayers welcome!

      Reply
  7. Duane Scott

    Glynn,

    I have to tell you. 

    Today as I was walking into school and I was literally overwhelmed by the upcoming test I had to go through. It was the hardest content I’d ever had in all my life. 

    And I wondered if it weren’t almost a bother to God to hear my simple prayer. 

    But then these very words came to me, “even for the little things”. 

    I slowed my walking. 

    And closed my eyes for a moment. 

    And I got an A. 

    So yes, the little things. He cares. I’m so, so thankful! 

    And thankful to you for teaching me today. 

    Reply
    • Glynn

      You’re going to end up as valedictorian!

      Reply
  8. S. Etole

    “Each heart knows its own sorrow …” praying for you, Glynn, and thankful for your faithfulness.

    Reply
    • Glynn

      Thanks, Susan.

      Reply
  9. Anonymous

    thanks for sharing this, glynn.

    Reply
    • Glynn

      Thanks for reading, Nancy.

      Reply
  10. DougSpurling

    Thanks Glynn for a wonderful reminder of His Amazing Grace. To think that He is concerned with that which concerns us is such a comforting thought.  Philippians 4:6
    Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

    Reply
    • Glynn

      Great verse, Doug.

      Reply
  11. Patricia

    … and I think too, that when I pass off my trial as too small or not severe enough, I am in essence telling God I can handle it without him.  It’s my own false humility and pride acting against my best interests and more importantly, against his Lordship. 
    (I take my best friend for her cortisone shots for the disc problems… makes me so sad to see her in such pain.  I will be praying for you too, Glynn.)

    Reply
    • Patricia

      well, now… I thought my pic was going to end up in that little icon thingy… not plastered below my comment box… pssh… =)

      Reply
      • Patricia W Hunter

        I like that picture! =)

        Reply
    • Glynn

      That’s a great point – we don’t pray because we think we can handle it. Thanks for commenting.

      Reply
  12. Mari-Anna Frangén Stålnacke

    “Nothing is too trivial because it comes from the heart he created, the
    soul he breathed existence into, and the personality he shaped.” Amen! God is amazing. He wants to know intimately each one of his children. What a privilege! What a blessing! Such a great post, Glynn. May God heal your back! Healing Blessings!

    Reply
    • Glynn

      Thanks for the comment, Mari-Anna.

      Reply
  13. Monica Sharman

    Glynn, thank you for teaching me about our Father.  He does care about it.  All.

    Reply
    • Glynn

      Monica, yes, he does. Thanks for the comment.

      Reply
  14. Sheila Seiler Lagrand

    All of it, indeed. It’s only been in the past few years that I’ve been able to pray for any of my own needs. He brought me to my knees, then He met a very trivial need of mine, in the midst of crisis (later He met the big need, too, but I think He had a point to make.  I learned that my reluctance to pray for my own needs, for small things, was a form of pridefulness. “Uh, I don’t need Your help. I’m doing FINE!” And so on. 

    I see Patricia has echoed a similar sentiment, though hers is more eloquently put. 

    And then I think of this: A few months ago, my boss lost a good friend, a mother to two grade-school classmates of my boss’s children. She died during bunion surgery

    Reply
    • Glynn

      Bunion surgery! A good lesson in how little things can often turn into big, serious things.

      I wonder if he thinks, “if you can’t trust me in the little things, why should you trust me in the big things?”

      Thanks for the comment, Sheila.

      Reply
      • Sheila Seiler Lagrand

        His ways are not our ways, hmm? I wonder how many things that seem small to us, or big to us, will be revealed otherwise when we stand before Him.

        Truly, it was my pleasure to read this, Glynn. Thank you for writing it.

        Reply
  15. Amy Hunt

    He’s personal and that’s the message He’s trying to show us every day. You matter. And every day when you share your heart, you’re worshiping Him! It’s a hard truth to really believe. And though we’ll never believe perfectly and fully, His Grace keeps on. 

    Reply
  16. Mathvsenglish

    Thanks for sharing.  Stumbled across this post when I was looking for something else but was blessed reading it.  So awesome to know the God that created this world cares about the problems of each individual problems.  

    Reply

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even for the little things

by Glynn Young time to read: 2 min
35