The lady in front of me at the Chick-Fil-A drive-thru, a stranger, decided to “pay it backwards” by paying for my breakfast. She had no earthly idea of my morning prayers to God or my devotions, nor what was going on in my life. But God did!!
I have learned to get very specific with God…on a daily basis. Little did the generous stranger know that our Type 1 diabetic son, age 24, had been in the hospital for 3 days battling a staph infection in the nose dangerously close to the eye and the brain. Nor did she know that our beloved yellow lab Daisy was very sick…among other things I won’t write about. You get the picture.
My prayers to God included wanting to be assured of His wisdom and direction for Thomas’ care. With a diabetic it can be very sticky, tedious and complicated. It seemed when I got up this particular morning the pressures and unknown of the day and week were pressing in on me. Only God knows the heart, my heart, so I am sure He knew the trust I had and the desire to see His hand. I had said to God, “I know You have me but could You just show me You have me, Thomas and our family today?!”
That was my simple request….and so His hand I did see. I always expect God to answer….. always, but I never know WHEN HE will. So you can imagine how my mouth dropped open at the drive-thru just about 1 hour after my morning quiet time. Not only had Thomas’ breakfast been bought by a complete stranger, but she left a word for me…given to me by the girl at the drive-thru: “Tell her that God has her!”
Wow! I wanted to get out of my car and do a HURKIE jump…if I had not been in a hurry…I would have…but diabetics can’t wait to eat in the morning and Thomas was waiting.
As last week unfolded…the reassurance at the drive-thru on Monday morning…carried me…the real visible…memorable and…strong reassurance.
On Monday night, after a very frustrating day of waiting as Thomas got worse instead of better, I sent a simple text to our friend Mark Salley inquiring what I should do over getting no answers. That text brought Mark, unannounced, flying into the hospital room as a concerned friend who happened to be a physician. Within minutes of looking at Thomas, he sent him to CT scan and just an hour later to surgery on that same Monday night.
Knowing Thomas’ condition had worsened but also seeing the unexpected and rapid help from a friend/gynecologist was God’s provision and care. NO DOUBT about it! As the week progressed, Thomas had another surgery plus a team of doctors caring for him: an infectious disease specialist, Dr. Yeon; a Hospitalist, Dr. Joye; and an ENT, Dr. Tab Thompson.
But he also received hundreds of prayers on his behalf, not to mention encouraging visits, cards, texts, and unexpected acts of kindness. From his receiving his favorite envy apples and peanut butter…to homemade “sweet bread”…to our loved ones at home being fed by friends. I took comfort in Psalm 42:8, “By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.”
Being overwhelmed is an understatement of God’s provision for Thomas and our family. I am not sure, even with Thomas being home now, when I will not feel “overwhelmed by the outpouring of love.” It is a great thing. I am having to battle negative and guilt thoughts over the number of people in the hospital on either side of us who never seemed to have a visitor or a gift.
I know that it is not that God doesn’t love those people. It is more about realizing that I need to be keenly aware of those around me who don’t have a support system of people in time of need. To befriend people and certainly encourage them to attend church or Bible study and have a community of people who love Jesus. It is there where they will find people with hearts bent toward serving and aiding in times of need and certainly praying for them.
Several “growth moments” for me through this very unexpected past week……
1. Having my quiet time first thing in the morning helped me not only see God for the whole week, but encouraged me when things became frightening later in the day…..and week. I knew what I had prayed and it was such a reminder that God has the helicopter view. He knew what was ahead. I saw Him clearly, crystal clearly because of MY initiated time with Him first thing in the morning!
2. To serve…continually serve others in need. WE ARE THE HANDS AND FEET OF JESUS TO OTHERS.
3. To pray for everyone who is called to care for the sick…from the sweet people who clean the floors in the hospital to the ladies who check you in at the ER…to the doctors and nurses. They are all in positions for God to use them…when people are at the MOST needy times in their lives. I know from personal experience what it means…when those people are kind and loving. It ministers to the depths of your soul and spirit!
4. To pray for “gentleness” and “wisdom” when things are not going well. Satan loves to attack our thoughts and tempt us to react harshly, to take things into our own hands instead of “dropping them to pray”. When we shoot “arrow prayers” to the Lord, His spirit will show up and prompt us, i.e., when I was soooo very frustrated and my insides were an inferno over lack of communication on late Monday afternoon…instead of my “old response” of taking things into my own hands…I “dropped my hands” and I “prayed”. God said…”seek wisdom.” So then I simply texted my friend Mark, a doctor, and asked, “What should I do?” and God took over from there!!! Psalm 66:19 reminds us, “But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.”
I encourage you to learn from my experience what God wants to do for anyone…who is drawing a breath. HE WILL GUIDE YOU. We have to seek HIM. I strongly encourage you to START each and every day with HIM. HE WILL SHOW UP AND SHOW OUT. Seek Him and follow Him. His thoughts are really higher than our thoughts and His ways are really higher than our ways. I am a living, current example of that!
Psalm 4:1, “Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!”