Our women’s study talked a little about the end of our last study on the mutuality commands (those “one another” things) then moved on to look at a book we had studied back around 2005. It was about prayer. We once focused almost exclusively on prayer, but have since branched out. But there were leftover books and we haven’t chosen anything else. This one was Bill Hybels’, Too Busy Not to Pray.
Just two pages in we found ourselves stopping to share some of our own stories. The idea was, there are times when circumstances seem to force us to pray, because we have no where else to turn. Often God seems especially present at those times. Several told stories of being with loved ones as they died, and feeling God’s presence there. But two other stories stood out for their uniqueness.
They actually had a similar theme of trusting God through extremely difficult circumstances, especially when one really has no control over medical outcomes. The older story was of a very difficult birth experience some twenty or more years ago. The baby was born but was not breathing. I’m sure the medical team was doing all sorts of things, but all mom could do was pray, not knowing how it would turn out. She said somehow, the Lord’s peace settled over her, so instead of anxiety, she just knew that her baby was in God’s hands and whether he lived or died, he was safe. Of course, we all knew he had survived, but what a wonderful legacy to know that God was powerfully present at his birth.
The other story was from just last year. A family from our church was involved in a terrible roll over accident and were seriously injured. The mom was the least injured but at first she said she had no strength to even move. Finally she prayed for strength and she was then able to quickly recover and go to the bedside of her daughter, who had been moved to a children’s hospital in another town, with serious head injuries. Let me tell you, the whole church was praying for their recovery, especially with dad and daughter in different hospitals. The mom said she felt strengthened by those prayers. But oddly enough, those who visited her felt she somehow strengthened their faith. God is good and all have recovered from their injuries.
Of course, that isn’t always the way things go. We all know stories that go the other way and it is a mystery to us why some are healed and others are simply taken home. But I wonder if somehow walking in the valley of the shadow of death for someone dear to us leaves us more open to hearing from the Lord. I did not share this at the time as it did not seem to fit, but I found that when each of my parents were dying, it seemed like I had a direct line to Jesus somehow. The occasions were separated by nearly 30 years, in my case, but I was amazed to find myself brought nearer to the Lord, when my mother was dying, than I had felt in years. No question about it, it did seem to be all about trust as well.
So what is your story? Have you felt closer to Jesus during some crisis, or was it more like your prayers were bouncing off the ceiling and walls? Most of us have been there too. Did it take some crisis of faith to open the lines of communication again?