Squeak squeak . . . squeak-squeak-squeak.
Dragging myself out of blissful unconsciousness, I immediately recognize that squeak. It's the bassinet in the other room. It means one of two things.
1) The child is moving around in her sleep.
2) The child is waking up.
At 2am, I fervently hope the first option is true.
[quietly from the next room]: "awr . . . awr . . . awr."
[picking up intensity]: "Awr . . . eh? AWR!"
Instinctively I pray, "Dear God, please help her go back to sleep again."
Blast. Now I've ensured that she will be fully awake. These three months of having a baby have taught me many things, one of them being that, while I know God hears that prayer, He generally prefers to sit back and giggle to Himself instead of sprinkling my semi-conscious baby with a healthy dose of sand from the Sandman. I do believe that prayer works. However, while He answers many other prayers, every time I pray that Little Girl would just drift off to sleep without parental intervention, God prefers to turn a deaf ear. Or He just sits back and giggles to himself.
Now, I realize that God doesn't really work this way. But at 2 in the morning, my theology reverts to the theology of an 8-year-old . . . with a little 30-year-old cynicism. In my head, I just can't help imagining God (as Matt Groening draws him, huge, with a long, flowing beard, walking hand in hand with a tiny Homer Simpson) sitting back in his rocking chair in the sky, eating a doughnut (probably with Homer), watching us through His celestial closed circuit TV as I groggily rock the baby back to sleep. As He and I both know, Little Girl normally sleeps very well, so He figures a night of waking up every two hours is good for me and I'll have more compassion on other parents who deal with this every night.
Trust me, I do feel for them. But come on, God--make her go back to sleep!
This then reminds me of Baptist friends I've had. When mentioning a nagging cold, they claim that they can pray all sickness away. They'd ask me, "you believe God's all-powerful, right?" Right. "So OF COURSE He can make that cold go away! Ask ANYTHING in Jesus's name with complete confidence and it WILL happen."
Excellent. "Dear God--I believe with every fiber of my being that you can make Little Girl go back to sleep."
The trouble is, she's still talking to herself.
Yes, I know God doesn't work like this. And I don't at all claim to know what God is thinking. After all, I barely understand what goes on in my own head (but believe God's got mine all figured out). God isn't just a big Santa Claus, giving treats or breaks to the good kids (or sleepy mommies) who deserve them. I do not believe that God denies blessings to anyone. I believe that God is more concerned with helping us through trying circumstances, be them cancer, imprisonment, torture, grief, or just a sleepless night. Yes, God is all powerful, and I do believe that blessings do come from Him. But, believing that, is the next logical step to think that the denial of a blessing is judgement from God? Or, more to the point, as everyone wonders at some point or another, why doesn't this all-powerful God stop tragedies from happening?
Like most people, I have no answer to this. Or, better put, no satisfactory answer. After all, I am not God, nor have I been allowed privileged access to His thought process. Believing that God is love, all I know is that God cries with us when tragedy strikes. Perhaps He allows these tragedies only to avoid larger ones. Small comfort to those grieving, I'm sure. But I do believe that when we're all hanging out in heaven, sometime over the course of eternity we'll have the opportunity to ask God why He lets tragedies happen. And He'll have all the time in the world to explain it to us. And as our brains will be so much more open, only then will we be able to understand.
Perhaps some people find this too simplistic or unsatisfactory. But it works for me. For now.
And now that I've muddled through the mysteries of the universe in the middle of the night, I notice something. Silence.
Thanks God. I'll take divine intervention over parental intervention any night.
Now, please God, help ME go back to sleep.