It was one of those prayers that come with tears.
It was a while ago, and I was lying in bed before falling asleep—the space and time when I often assess the day with God. Looking back at my successes and failings, hopes and hurts. Asking for forgiveness, for help, for hope in our sometimes–jaded world.
This day I felt vulnerable. There was a new guy on the scene. We'd been out a time or two. And I was intrigued. For me, relational interest doesn't come so much in physical infatuation or we–just–clicked chemistry, but in hearing certain details about a guy and wanting to know more. Wanting to get to the bottom of his story.
It had been more than a year since I'd had such feelings. There had been the blessing of other possibilities. But nothing that had me intrigued. Like this. Like him.
Problem is, I had no idea what he was thinking. Trying to sync up interesting and interested can at times feel downright impossible. As my interest piqued, as my feelings grew, so did my chance to get hurt if he wasn't interested or if we weren't a good fit after all. With each email and phone call and dinner out, I was inching farther out on that limb—and looking down made me realize I had a ways to fall.
The "looking down" didn't come from pessimism so much as from experience. It's just that at this point in our existence as singles, all our romantic relationships have ended. And we all have the bumps and bruises to show for it.
But as a child of God, I know we're not just doomed to grit our teeth and hope for the best. I know we have a Savior and Redeemer looking out for us. So, lying there staring at my ceiling, I asked him to guard my heart. "I'm not saying this has to be 'it,' God. But could you please protect me from a crash and burn?"
As soon as the words escaped my lips, I could almost see them bounce off the ceiling above me and land in a little crumpled heap on the floor. As I contemplated this image, I felt a slow rising of doubt and anger inside me. And surprise at these feelings.
I tried to stay in the moment, to see what would surface in this odd jumble of emotions. After a little while, the words came tumbling out: "You know, the last time I prayed this, I did crash and burn. The one heartbreak I asked you to protect me from, that one specific disappointment is exactly what happened. So bringing this prayer again to you feels futile. You didn't guard my heart then; why should I think you will now?" My silent tears communicated the rest of my hurt.