If I've ever gotten anything I wanted, or prayed for, it's hard to remember. Except for having become a farm wife and the mother of three boys (which should be more than enough reward for anyone), my prayers have gone unfulfilled, perhaps even unheard. And I'm not talking about winning-the-lottery kinds of prayer, but smaller things...desires that are almost insignificant in the larger scheme of things.
Most recently, my heart-welling prayer was for my oldest son, a soldier in the U.S. Army Infantry, who has had more than his share of disappointments, too: difficult high school years, three girlfriends who have dumped him (one while he was in basic training, one while he was in Iraq), numerous thefts of his belongings...I could go on. So when he was given the opportunity to go to sniper school - something he's been wanting for a long time - I was thrilled for him. Hopeful that, at last, here would be a success, something to bolster his faith and his confidence in himself. I prayed and prayed for him, for the clarity of his mind, the sharpness of his skills, for his ability to do math. And that he would be given the opportunity to at last prove himself as the kind of soldier he has always wanted to be.
As usual, the desires of my heart, and his, were denied. I finally spoke to him on the phone last night, and the words "I failed out" broke my heart.
One of the greatest tragedies in life is that a mother cannot do anything to prevent her children's disappointments.
Another tragedy is when you begin to lose faith in prayer.
So I console myself with this, as all Christians do - that God has a good reason for my son to not be a sniper - and that should be enough.