Parenting a child with a handicap presents some unique challenges. Many involve "little things," like going to the dentist. Since the day his baby teeth started coming in, Will has had "dental issues." This means that, over the years, he has come to associate going to the dentist with pain and discomfort, such that it is always an "ordeal" to take him.
Yesterday at 2pm, he had a "very necessary" appointment with the dentist. I had a 3pm appointment of my own in another part of town, so Denise was "on her own" with Will (but not really, as I'll explain). When we last took him a couple of months ago, it was the usual "ordeal." The dentist had tried valiantly to get a panoramic x-ray so he could tell fully what was going on below Will's gum line. All the dentist needed him to do was step "into" the x-ray machine, bite down on a plastic piece, and remain perfectly still as the machine circled around him and took pictures. It wouldn't hurt at all.
Well, that was what was supposed to happen.
Will panicked. Try as we may, there was simply no getting him to do it. So what else could we do? We left, in defeat.
So, yesterday, Denise was back at the dentist's office for another attempt, while I headed to my appointment. And I was praying for Will -- asking God to help a young man with Down Syndrome simply to do the "little thing" that needed to be done.
Now some would say, "Well, go ahead and pray such prayers if it makes you feel better, but God really has bigger fish to fry than to see to your boy's dental needs ... you know, like running the universe, preventing nuclear disasters, dealing with climate change, etc. etc."
Frankly, I've run into this view of God before. For example, I've had people (turns out, all of them professing Christians, as far as I can recall) tell me, "I don't pray about my own needs because God has bigger things to tend to."
What a low and little view of God! As if, taking our needs and assorted "small stuff" to him might somehow distract him or overtax him or stress him out!
The fact is, God is GOD -- both transcendent and immanent. That is, he is far and near ... and powerfully so! He sees to things big and small. He isn't like us. He doesn't get overloaded. He doesn't "need a vacation." He never cries to the heavens, like the harried mom in the old TV commercial, "Calgon ... take me away!"
He is God. And his word plainly says, "Pray ... about it ALL!"
I mean, what isn't clear about this: "IN EVERYTHING, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Phil 4:6)? When the Bible tells us to pray about "everything," what are we NOT to pray about?
Anyhow, I prayed and asked God this time to help Will be calm (for the first time!), and to let the dentist to do what was necessary.
What happened? Did God care about this "little thing"?
Denise said she was astonished. When Will's name was called in the waiting room, she said he promptly hopped up, ran down the hall, and almost gleefully plopped down in the dentist's chair! Huh?!! Then, when it was time for his panoramic x-ray (the same one that had sent him into a panic the last time) -- well, it took some coaxing and about 4 attempts -- but he suddenly held perfectly still, the nurse started the machine, it began circling and clicking, Will's body shook with nervousness as he made "nervous sounds," AND THEY GOT HIS X-RAYS!!!
"You did it, Will! You did it!!!" Denise said everybody in the office was shouting their congratulations, including the dentist who pushed his chair back from the patient he was working with and exclaimed, "Way to go, Will!" Denise said that, as she walked with Will back down the hall past the dentist, she could see that even his patient in the chair was smiling!
Now, I guess this little slice of our lives may not seem like much to you, but we know better. This was BIG -- REAL BIG! And a reminder that yes, God does care about "little things." Even if things had turned out differently, God would still have cared about us. "Casting ALL your anxieties on him, because he cares for you" (1 Pt 5:7).
The next time you find yourself faced with your own "little thing," I hope you'll remember ours.
"To God be the glory, great ['little'] things he has done!"