Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sometimes God Meets You in Odd Places...

Today has been a hard day. I am emotional... Trevor has been moved to a Brain Trauma hospital. I think it is kind of like a nursing home. My Dad, as men tend to do, makes it sound like everything is going to be okay and that it is just going to take time. I have more information now... Trevor has lost some motor skills and has short term memory loss. Only time will tell how much he will get back... and it is looking like it will be a long time.

Wrapped up in all of the worry about my brother... is the fear I have for my daughter. She is very much like my brother. I just don't know how much control either of them have over certain aspects of their lives. I feel powerless.

I don't normally read forwards. If you send them to me and are reading this... I'm sorry. Every so often I do and once in a blue moon I might even forward it on to one or two who I think will appreciate it. But, that really is rare. I'm not sure why I chose to read this one that I got today, but I did and I am going to share it with y'all.

This beautiful story was written by a doctor who worked in
Africa .

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive, as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator). We also had no special feeding facilities. Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in. Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates) 'And it is our last hot water bottle!' she exclaimed. As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.

'All right,' I said, 'put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts. Your job is to keep the baby warm.'

The following noon , as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.

During prayer time, one ten-year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. 'Please, God' she prayed, 'Send us a hot water bottle today. It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.' While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, 'And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she'll know You really love her?'

As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say 'Amen'? I just did not believe that God could do this. Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything; the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren't there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever, received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses' training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there on the verandah was a large 22-pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone , so I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly-colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas - that would make a batch of buns for the weekend. Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the.....could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand new, rubber hot water bottle. I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could.

Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, 'If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!!' Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully-dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted! Looking up at me, she asked: 'Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she'll know that Jesus really loves her?' Of course, I replied!

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God's prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child - five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it 'that afternoon.'

Before they call, I will answer. (Isaiah 65:24)
I will admit that, although I am a Christian, when I read these kinds of things I sometimes feel a bit emotionally manipulated. I will also admit that a lot of times when I pray I wonder if I'm even heard.
This reminded me of something that happened years ago that I haven't thought about in awhile. We had just moved to Mississippi and enrolled Chai Tea and Frappy in the local public school. Each morning I would pray with the girls on our front porch while we waited for the school bus. Frappy did not like her first grade teacher at all. I had asked her why and from what she told me I figured the teacher was a bit gruff. Frappy has always responded to a gentle approach and been upset by other methods. I've always dealt with those sorts of issues by telling the kids that they aren't going to always like everyone and to learn to deal with it, in a nice way, of course.
Anyway, they had been in school about a week. We were on the porch and I had the girls take turns praying first. I had already had a talk with Frappy earlier about giving the teacher time. When it was Frappy's turn she said, "Dear God, please, please! Give me a new teacher!" I was going to correct her and tell her that she could not pray that way but we heard the bus coming. That afternoon she came running home to me shouting, "God answers prayer! God answers prayer! He gave me a new teacher and her name is Mrs. Pray!" And He did. And her teacher's name was, in fact, Mrs. Pray.
I don't know why I allow myself to forget these types of things. I think if I lived back in Moses' day I would have definitely been one of those that, although witnessing the parting of the Red Sea, would have been wondering why we weren't in the Promised Land.
All you Bloggies that take the time to comment and who have prayed for me and my family, Thank You! I really appreciate it and your warmth and care means so very much to me.
See, I told you I am emotional today.


Laura ~Peach~ said...

thank you .. how wonderfully fitting for me today.
Love you

April said...

I don't always comment. I read every post, but sometimes I have nothing wise or comforting to add that has not already been said. Just know that I am praying for you and your family. :)

Flea said...

:) I often forget how amazing He is.

Junebug said...

Wow! What a moving and wonderful story. Both of them. Thanks. I will pray for God to move on your brother's behalf, restore his health and mind, and get him and your family through this trial. I pray that you and your family will be able to find rest and comfort from the Holy Spirit. God is able and willing. His arm is not too short to reach.

The Accidental Housewife said...

It's not that God doesn't hear us, it just that sometimes "we" don't like what he has to say.

Deborah said...

What a great post...thanks!

thislittlepiggy said...

Ain't God good? :o)

Sheri said...

I love that story! It reminds me that God knows what we need, before we even know we do. All it takes is enough faith to ask.

Trisha said...

Beautiful message. We need to remember that God is in our life even when we can't see his presence. He does like to remind us in "odd" ways!

I am still praying for you and your family. I think Frappy will be fine - she may have to struggle a bit but she has a good foundation!

Brenda said...

That is a great story. Look what a chance you have had to share your faith through this.

Becky said...

I love it!

I often feel "unheard"...but am so glad to know that just because I feel something, doesn't make it true.

:) Hang in there!
The Maid

Karen Deborah said...

wow that was so cool, any time your having an emotional day feel free to post alright?

Angela said...

"I think if I lived back in Moses' day I would have definitely been one of those that, although witnessing the parting of the Red Sea, would have been wondering why we weren't in the Promised Land."

this got me girl...I'm also like,,waa waa,,I want to go back where I had been fed and clothed and taken care of, even though I was in slavery. Getting to this Promised Land is just taking too long!

Bluebird49 said...

You know--I don't know how we can be so amazed at miracles when they hsappen everyday...but still, I am. I have even been healed--when I really didn't "believe" in such things in today's world, per se( although I have faith in God, I am a Christian!).

I have this terrible habit of limiting God--I'm such a fool.