When God's Answer Is: "Not Now."

Saturday night. After about four hours into the labor pains, we ended up at the ER.
It was about 1 AM.
After a couple of hours there, he and I returned home--but still with no success.
Steve's had a stubborn kidney stone.
The whole day yesterday, I tried to keep him as comfortable as possible while the girls busied themselves with science projects.
I prayed thoughout the day.

Colossians 4:2, Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 

Although I was not thankful that he was in pain, I looked for things to be thankful for--
I was thankful for the opportunity to wait on him and show him love.

1 John 5:14-15, And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. 

There is a line I read by a popular author about how asking God for stuff is like downloading a file on a computer. That when you pray, you must ask for His will  (download the file). The computer won't go out of its way for  specific needs unless you download that file.
So I prayed that God would let Steve pass the stone immediately, if it was His will.
But clearly it was not His will since the stone remained unmoved.
I took that as God saying, "Not yet."

John 15:7, If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

At 4 PM, the girls and I went to Mass.
The Gospel reading was about love.
In fact it was the same reading I chose for our wedding ceremony.
I was struck by the simplicity of the message:
Nothing matters--success, wealth, abilities, talents--without love.
But I digress.
Anyhow, on the way home--Gabi said: "I hope by the time we get home, that Tatay's stone is out, so we can still go to the Super Bowl party."
I chuckled but pondered the point of praying for things when it benefits one's wants or personal desires.

James 4:3, You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

For this reason, I was not super surprised when we got home and found that our prayers were not answered. YET.
I am learning 2 things:
1. Prayers are much more effective when you pray for the benefit of others and not yourself.
2. When you pray for the benefit of others, you end up experiencing extreme "benefit shrapnel."

Matthew 21:22, And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.

So I prayed.
And I prayed with expectant faith.
I was so confident that he would pass it and be well enough to go back  to work today that I even fixed his lab coat in his car.
I just knew that before Monday morning, he would be better.
I cleared off all the snow that had accumulated on top of our other car that I knew that I would use to drive the girls to school this morning because his "cleared-off-snow car" would be gone.

By the time the Super Bowl started at 6:30 PM, he still had not passed it.
I prayed non-stop.
(Wait. Correction: I took a break from praying to watch Beyonce perform.)

Finally, at about 9:10 PM last night, a full 24 hours since his pain started, Steve passed this very large jagged stone.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 

It is not the easiest thing to keep praying and being thankful in all circumstances when there is pain involved.
And there is this question about God's will.
Does God really will the pain of a kidney stone upon people?
I don't think God wants us to be in pain.
But I think that God allows us to be in pain, if the pain is going to help us in the long run.

Pain can be good if we allow it to guide us.
If this bout with pain makes us become more proactive about taking measures to prevent it from happening again, then it is a pain that is clearly God's will.

Steve has now asked me to help him manage his kidney issues (which he has not done before).

After we had cheered, taken photographs and named the godparents of "Robert Uric,"
I overheard him utter a prayer of thanks to God.
I asked him if he in fact prayed while he was in pain. He said that he knew that I was praying.
He said, "I am not sure if it counts as a prayer, but I definitely invoked God's name."

Hebrews 13:15, Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.

I shall end this post with this:
Prayer works.
While many things and events in our life may not be something we understand nor welcome--it is amazingly part of a perfect plan.