August 06, 2008

Daddy, you prayed I wouldn't have a bad dream...

and I did.

I don't have a good answer for this.

The options are:

God didn't hear you.
God doesn't care.
God is not powerful enough to stop your bad dreams.

Or the line I've been lead to believe:

God let you have this bad dream, because it's part of his greater plan.

That barely seems better.

And worse yet... Mia Michaels's four person weird Irish dance was dumb.


Beth said...

Been there, as a mom; and in my own prayer life.

First, addressing the option "God does not care." see I Peter 5:7 "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." And, He cared enough about us to send His own Son to die for us to redeem us. Is there anyone that you would send one of your sons for? How much He must love us.

Then addressing "God didn't hear you" and "God isn't powerful enough to do anything about it." see Isaiah 59:1 "Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear."

Jesus did not promise His followers a life free from fear, pain, troubles or suffering. On the contrary, we can and should expect them. He does promise His comfort, help, presence, and final victory. John 16:33 "I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

This is a small building block of faith and trust for your sons. Yes, they could not "program" God for only happy dreams. Yet, when they awakened scared; they still had His protection, His safety and comfort in the home God has provided for them, His comfort straight through the loving arms of the parents He gave them.

The leaps of faith become larger. "I prayed to have a healthy pregnancy, but instead I had a miscarriage." "I prayed that my friend would not die from cancer, but she did." "I prayed that Joe would not be hurt on his motorcycle, but he was." And many more prayers I prayed that God chose to do something different than I had "ordered". The hurt, pain, troubles were all there and in many cases excruciating. Yet God was also there, with His presence, comfort, strength, peace. Just as He promise in John 16:33.

Love you, brother; and your precious boys and wife.

Anonymous said...

Recommended: Gum, Geckos, and God by Jim Spiegel.

SDG said...

What I tell my kids depends on how old they are.

Right now James is seven. I tell him something like this: "A bad dream isn't something that just happens to you. I know it doesn't feel like it, but part of you is telling a scary story to another part of you. The part that's scared may not like it. But sometimes when we get scared, it helps us know how to be brave later. You had a bad dream, and you were really scared, but now you woke up, and you're all right. So even when you get really scared, that doesn't mean things aren't going to be okay in the end. I think that's what bad dreams are for. Maybe God knows that the part of you that's telling the scary story knows what it's doing."

Also, for over ten years I've been saying the following to at least four different kids, and I have yet to be proved wrong: "I know that dream was really scary, but now it's gone, and you don't have to be afraid of going back to sleep and having that dream again. You won't. I know sometimes you feel like you've have the same dream before, but when that happens it's really just part of the same dream. You wake up and you feel like you've had it before, but you haven't really. Once you wake up, the dream is gone and never comes back. Let's try a test. You go back to sleep, and in the morning let's see if you have that dream again."

In my experience, the dream never recurs. I'm cheating slightly because it's possible a different bad dream may occur, but so far I haven't had that happen either. I know there's such a thing as recurring themes in dreams, but these are usually pretty generic and usually more unpleasant than terrifying (with a few notable exceptions). I have yet to catch the particulars of any dream or nightmare recurring as a repeat or continuation of the same dream.