I heard a series of sirens the other day as I was working in the garden and my mind did its usual accounting for all of my family members. Who was home, who was at school, and how long had anyone been gone in the car? Had it been too long or too short for a nearby ambulance response if there had been an accident? I sent up my typical three prayers -- one for protection for my family, one asking for protection for whomever was the recipient of the emergency response team, and a third for the men and women who were serving on the fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars.
Then I started thinking, a wonderful by-product of gardening. I imagine that's why God created it as the first job of man. If I pray for God to protect my family from harm, am I truly trusting Him? And what if they make choices that are counter to His plan for them? Will that make my prayers null and void? Sometimes I believe I think too much.
Perhaps God has a lesson to teach me and/or my family that involves an accident, illness, injury, or even death. Or maybe he has a lesson for someone else that can only be taught through our distress. Am I really wanting the best for our family and the world if I pray for our protection? But I desperately want our protection! And I desperately want to want what God wants. I have to admit I'm not really there yet.
I don't think God has a problem with us asking for what we want, as long as we understand that he will, in His wisdom, give us what we need. And we must trust that what we receive IS in our best interest, or is at least in the worlds' best interest.
So I guess I'll change my prayers a little. God, please protect my family from harm -- physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual -- from our foolish choices or from the foolishness of the world. Please protect those who serve or who are served by our emergency responders, and let your presence be felt in those difficult situations. And above all, let Your will be done and help us to trust you in all situations, even when we don't see You or understand.