In the same way the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should… Romans 8:26
Why not Minot? Freezin’s the reason! So about three-fourths of the way through basic training in the Air Force you have the opportunity to fill out your dream sheet. This is the Air Force’s way of saying, “Now we really don’t care what you think but if you want to, you can tell us where you would like to be assigned.” No really, that’s true. But it is also right…the needs of our country have to come first. And, if for some odd reason the needs of the country lineup with your needs, you just might get what you put on your dream sheet. Too bad I didn’t know that.
Our flight (the group of guys that you go through basic with) filled out our dream sheets together. Of course everyone put down bases close to home, exotic areas like bases near the beach, or some other place that seemed exciting and interesting. I remembered listing a couple of bases in Florida, Moody in South Georgia, Colorado, Germany and Alaska.
There were lines for twelve different dream locations and I still had one line left. We were all feeling pretty jovial—you know, joking around. So I said out loud, “Hey, I’ve got one spot left.” Someone, and surely he was related to the guy who suggested we join the Air Force together and backed out, said, “Put down Minot, North Dakota.” HaHa, so I did.
I wished I hadn’t done that. So I can just see the guys in the assignment section at headquarters. They were giving the dream sheets the old “once over” and came across a guy crazy enough to put down Minot, North Dakota. “Hey sarge,” “Here’s a crazy guy that wants to go to Minot.” “Really?” The sarge asked. “Yup, that what he put.” So a couple of months later I found myself going to, you guessed it, Minot.
Minot is cold. Minot is very cold. Minot is very, very cold. It is about sixteen miles from the Canadian border. As the opening line said, “Why not Minot?” “Freezin’ is the reason.” Did I mention that it is cold? I arrived in late October and already the temperatures were near freezing. This southern boy only had on a light sweater to fend off the below zero wind chill. I knew when they gave me a heavy down filled parka, white arctic boots and gloves and one of those Russian looking Siberian hats I was in trouble. Minot…who ever lists Minot?
I learned something that winter in Minot. Be careful what you ask for…you just might get it. It happened in the headquarters assignment room but I am thankful it doesn’t happen in heaven. You see, God loves us way too much to give us everything we ask for. I have lived long enough to be thankful for unanswered prayers. You see, prayer really isn’t about getting anyway. It’s about relationship. It’s about trusting God and believing that He knows what is absolutely best for us.
Romans 8:26-27 is amazing. It says, “In the same way the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us, with unspoken groanings. And He Who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” That means He knows what to say when I don’t and He knows and prays in accordance to the will of God.
Translated that means, “no winters in Minot” or six dozen other bad choices or prayer requests. It means our prayer life becomes more real. It means no more feeling like we are talking and no one is listening. It means prayer becomes a real and powerful force for God’s purpose to be done. And since His purpose is always right and best—it is a win, win. So, I know right now our dream sheet would be easy. No more corona virus, no more kids out of school, no more stay at home or face masks, no more not worshiping together and no more, no mores. I think that’s a fair prayer. But just remember, He’s God and we are not. God is good, God is faithful and God can be trusted. Even if the answer doesn’t look like our answer, it is still the right and best one. So, sit back, rest in Him. He’s got this.