Last night we got home from my in-laws’ house at around 9, with both boys asleep in the car. Samuel carried them in and put them to bed. We hung out for a bit on the couch together enjoying the unusual moments of peace and quiet. Then Matthew (11 months) woke up. He was happy and played for a while, then just as we were making sandwiches he started to cry for a bottle. He took his bottle and we ate. After that it all went downhill. Samuel tried rocking him to sleep. I tried rocking him to sleep. We sang to him. We laid him in his crib. We brought him to bed and laid him in between us. With each attempt to get him to sleep the crying and screaming escalated. Until finally at one a.m. I put him in the car and drove around the neighborhood.
He stopped crying before I even started the car and after two trips around our small neighborhood he was fast asleep. But I wasn’t. You see it’s rare that I drive around the streets near where I live. I drive into the neighborhood to get home and out of it to go anywhere else, but never pay much attention. About halfway through the second loop I started seeing the houses and thinking about the families sleeping inside of them. I took the opportunity to pray for them. To pray that it would be a place where the name of Jesus is always praised, and that the Holy Spirit would be at work in each home and the lives of each person living there.
I remember when I was in Mexico this was a way of life for me. Walking by homes and businesses. Praying for those inside. Somewhere along the way I lost that habit and am now determined to get it back. Hopefully the next time I drive around praying for my neighbors it won’t be in the middle of the night. I don’t think the Lord made Matthew miserable last night so that he would cry and I would drive around and realize my shortcomings as a prayer warrior. I do however know that he uses all things for our good. Even hysterical babies at 1 a.m.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”