Cardinals & Unanswered Prayers

On Monday morning, as I was about to leave for my walk,  I thought to myself, “I’d like to see a cardinal today.” That thought turned into a whispered prayer, and that whispered prayer became an expectation.

I was on high alert, watching for that cardinal, certain it would be there, somewhere. I became more brave and added more detailed criteria to my prayer request, asking for a male, with the beautiful bright red colours. It didn’t happen.

I returned home, mildly disappointed .

Tuesday morning Tim joined me on my walk. I had whispered the same prayer,  and shared it with Tim, who quickly reminded me it’s July, and not many cardinals about. And he was right. Again there was no cardinal.

On Wednesday morning, day three of whispering the same prayer, Tim again joined me. We were walking along the trail, about half-way to our end point, when it caught my eye. I gasped. “A cardinal!” I said to Tim.

I pursued it, calmly, quietly, but wasn’t able to get a picture. It was a female, not a male, but it was beautiful! I was delighted!

It got me thinking about the prayers we pray… deep ones, tough ones, sad ones, desperate ones and sweet ones. There are so many prayers, with so many levels or degrees of importance or seriousness. So many ‘important’ prayers that go seemingly unanswered.

We wait, we pray, we wonder. Sometimes we trust, sometimes we rage, as we desperately continue praying. Day three comes and goes, and still our prayers are not answered.

Sometimes our prayers are answered, but not exactly as we wish, or in our timing. Day one I was full of expectancy. Day two I was still watching. Day three, I whispered a prayer and then all but forgot about it.

When the answer came, it was not a male, in vivid red. My prayer was not answered exactly as I had hoped and asked for. I don’t understand why God chooses to answer some little prayer, while the really important ones seem to go unanswered. But the cardinal reassured me that God is listening.

Was the cardinal important? Not really, in and of itself.  But it did remind me that God pays attention to the little things. If He hears my prayer, and sends me a cardinal, how much more does He care about the real life issues!


In the bigger issues I’m facing right now, I wait with an expectant heart, knowing that God has me on His radar, that He is interested in the smallest details. He’s got me covered. I don’t know how He will answer. I don’t know when He will answer. But I know that God has my best interest at heart, and I can trust Him.

© Trudy Metzger 2012

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