Sunday, October 24, 2010

Answered prayers and providence

Recently in the blog of a long-time iFriend, Metacrock posted his testimony. At one point he described a prayer of his sister's that had been answered exactly, and in a way that looks like God's hand can be seen arranging events.

I wanted to ask: What have you all seen by way of answered prayers? Or maybe it's by way of providence. And I know, in one sense, the most important thing I pray every day may be "Forgive us our sins" -- but in the drama of the day around us, sometimes we are looking for something that meets the other needs too.

Along the same lines, I wanted to tell you all about something that happened just after I moved into my current place, probably somewhere right around 2000. It was not long before Christmas, and I had a thought to make paper cutout snowflakes. That's not really like me, so I brushed off the thought. Day after day the thought kept coming back, and I kept brushing it off. Paper snowflakes absolutely had to be irrelevant. Finally, figuring that some corner of my mind must be having a fit of nostalgia or something, I decided to just go ahead and make the blasted snowflakes so that I could get rid of the thought, which had become really annoyingly persistent. I almost gave up when I saw that I was out of regular white paper, that all I had in the house was bright orange construction paper. But regardless of how silly the bright orange snowflakes were going to look, I went ahead and made them. I set them aside and forgot about them, relieved that the thoughts had finally gone away.

Not many days later, a friend of mine called. Her mother was in the hospital -- had been for over a month, in serious condition. She really wanted to take one day off because the stress was mounting, but she didn't want to leave her mom without a visitor that day. I said I'd go. On my way out the door I thought, "I shouldn't go empty-handed." And I couldn't think what to bring; I'd never actually met her mother. So I just grabbed the snowflakes -- the absurdly orange snowflakes -- and headed out the door.

So at the hospital, the visit went well. Even though we hadn't met, we knew a lot of the same people and just traded stories about the good events in their lives. Before I left, I pulled out the snowflakes and said I'd brought them for her. She choked up. She was absolutely overwhelmed with emotion. You see, she had always made paper cutout snowflakes with the kids in her family, every year without fail. This year she was the first year ever that hadn't been able to make them. That one thing was a key part of the holidays to her, and she had been left out this year. It meant more to her than I ever would have guessed. Her gratefulness was touching, but all the while she was thanking me, I started wondering about that irresistible urge to make snowflakes that is so out of character for me.

And the walls near her hospital bed were white. If I had brought white snowflakes, they would not have shown up. The orange worked nicely, where white would have been completely pointless.

I'm not saying things like that happen all the time, I'm just saying there have been a few times when I have seen things, where I suspected there had been some direct intervention by God to bring about the result.

So I wanted to ask: What have you all seen by way of answered prayers? Or maybe it's providence.


PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

I've had a couple of those little things that turned out to be more important that immediately apparent happen to me. Quite a few years ago, I had met a woman through a Bible Study group. She missed one of the meetings. Even though I hardly knew her and had never been to her home, I got a voice in my head telling me that I should buy her a couple of bags of groceries and take them out to her, about 15 miles into the country. I followed through only because every bit of this suggestion was so totally out of character for me that I knew it didn't originate from me. That began the start of a good friendship.

Another time a man was introduced at our church as the new youth director. I felt that I was told to volunteer to help each Wednesday by cooking a meal for the youth group. Since I had never cooked for a group and I don't like cooking big meals, and I don't feel all that comfortable working with youth, I KNEW that this wasn't my idea. This knowledge that I should cook for the youth group came to me in June, during the church service, but the youth group meetings didn't start until September, so I knew that I had to tell the new leader that I would cook for the group that very day or I'd surely either forget or chicken out over the summer. In the end, I did cook most of the Wednesday evening meals during that school year and after that, the church devised a schedule of rotating volunteers to cook.

Weekend Fisher said...

Interesting how all that works out.

I just wonder, sometimes, how many things we don't notice are things that God did.

It's like my kids -- they have no idea of half the stuff I do for them.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

Martin LaBar said...

. . . and how many paper snowflakes God has tried to get us to make, but we weren't listening, or thought we knew better.