The Wal-Mart pharmacy was quiet. It was late March. Flu season dissipated and displays of sun-screen appeared in time for spring break vacations. With a faked nonchalance, I slipped a home pregnancy test between the toilet paper and milk cartons. It took a few minutes to scope out an unknown checker. Not easy, since filling carts with provisions for my husband and three teenagers several times a week made me a familiar face.
The year I turned forty was a hard one. A flurry of accusations sowed doubt and mistrust in close friendships. Suspicion tarnished labors of love. Like the snake showing up in the garden of Eden, all that appeared to be paradise dissolved in “he said’s and she said’s.”
Broken bones heal over time. The wounds of broken relationships are harder to reach. Often they are stuffed into hidden crevices of our hearts. Instead of paying attention to them, casting them with grace and truth, they harden into crooked dysfunction. Untreated, they grow into cancers and chronic ailments of the soul and body.
Things didn’t get better. Angry words and knee-jerk reactions became more fuel for countless fires. Sighs of regret filled my daily prayer walks. One day I looked up. There, in divine answer, was a tranquil, turquoise sky. An unexpected longing bubbled up out of me. It tumbled out without reason, in tears and travail. “Lord, I need life. I need a child.”
Revelation 12 describes a great sign appearing in heaven. A pregnant woman cried out in her birth pangs. An enormous dragon stationed himself in front of her, ready to devour the child she brought forth.
Signs in the Bible are like billboards. They get our attention. Like being pregnant at the age of 43, after a prayer is forgotten and circumstances are impossible.
I learned, like Hannah in the Bible, that God heard my prayer for a child. My cry met heaven’s cry and a flesh and blood God-plan showed up in baby form, even as the devourer roared.
Our deepest desires are potential “babies”. Unlike resolutions forgotten in the first billows of a strong north wind, they are deep, often unexplainable longings.
The dragon is an accuser. It waits to devour our dreams. In my case, the accuser was behind innuendos and unresolved hurt among friends. This enemy doesn’t need a crowd, though. His weapons are tailor-made to fit our insecurities. They aren’t fair. They aren’t truth.
I’ve learn to smell the dragon. Accusations don’t always thunder. Sometimes they blow with a relentless, yet subtle pressure, eroding the expectations of our hearts. But these ploys remind me of good news. God has an answer to the fiery breath of a dragon’s lies. It is a child of promise.
Here are a couple of my prayers for 2014:
1. Help me recognize and reject the dragon that accuses me and others.
2. When I hear the accuser, remind me to look for the God-promise.
Our hearts are fertile ground for “babies” who come to earth, bringing hope and healing with them. Look for them in 2014!
Love in Christ,