I think there may be nothing quite like the feeling of an answered prayer: relief, love, strengthened faith, increased perseverance, JOY.
I shall back up and fill in the details. We are moving. My husband and I are smack dab in the middle of upheaval, uncertainty, stress, excitement, sadness, anticipation, a lot of hard work, and the reassuring awareness of the evidence of how our awesome God is working in our daily lives and is revealing an unfolding of His plan. Like my husband says, God can work better with a moving vehicle more so than one that is parked. Step by step, with an observant heart and mind, we are trying to recognize and act on the promptings of the Lord.
Now, the story: The church we attended (past tense) has an e-mail prayer chain. I need packing boxes, old newspaper, bubble wrap, Styrofoam peanuts, large pieces of wrapping plastic, anything a person could use to protect and transport belongings. I also have a couple of items of furniture for sale. I, being Joy, thought I would submit these requests to the prayer chain along with asking for prayer for my husband and I during this time. Out of line? I thought not–after all, over the past 12 years we have attended that church, I have seen requests for infant care, rides to various locations, and just that week, the Pastor asking to borrow some fabric for an event. A tad ballsy to include my furniture sale? Mayhaps, but my thought was why not ask/offer the items to fellow believers first? Truly, that was my intention.
Within a few hours, I received an e-mail message from the person who handles the prayer chain stating that my needs were more of a request that should be put on the local radio station (small town here), and I could go around to various businesses to look for packing boxes, and ask friends/neighbors for old newspapers. Seriously, I was taken aback and quite miffed–my thought was, “Well, if Christians won’t help me, maybe God will”. That night–while lying awake in the middle of the night, I asked God to help me. I said, “God, I know you are bigger than this prayer chain. I know finding boxes and newspaper are no problem for You. Could you please find me some supplies?” These verses came to my mind: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God…” Philippians 4:6. I went back to sleep, tomorrow would be a new day with plenty to do.
I awoke thinking about my need for packing materials, and hoping that something would come through. Within hours, I had the idea of calling a couple who were in our Sunday Class and asking them if they had any packing materials. I called, left a message, the woman returned my call, and yes, she had some newspapers, stop on by. I was at her home within a few moments, and she had a huge sack of newspapers. “Did you need anything else?” “Yes, I could use Styrofoam peanuts, plastic wrap, bubble wrap, anything you might have.” She disappeared downstairs and came back up with bubble wrap, air-filled packets, plain tissue paper so newsprint ink would not rub off on an item, two huge bags of Styrofoam peanuts, sheets of soft, foam papers, and plastic bags… ABOVE AND BEYOND… EXCEEDINGLY AND ABUNDANTLY… HE SHALL PROVIDE ALL MY NEEDS!! Yes, I am shouting! These sorts of things need to be shouted and praised! God is concerned about ALL of my needs! “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen”. Ephesians 4:20 & 21.
The more days that go by, the more I think, really, how difficult is it to be like Jesus? Not difficult at all. How much trouble is it to be the hands and feet of Christ? Quite simple if your hands and feet are not bound/tied/constricted by “rules”. Meeting the needs of others, especially Christian Brothers and Sisters should not be “qualified”–at least that is my thinking–but, I could be wrong. I mean, there could be reasons why my prayer chain request was out of line…. and I’ll just leave it at that. But this adds to the bit of disdain I have for the organized church–yes, we need the organized church, but has the church become so organized, unbending, fearful, and cold that they can’t see a need for help when it’s in front of their face? Again, I may be too quick to judge and too harsh, but what happened to me, simply hurt.
If nothing else, I have learned some lessons. Some Christians might not be so loving, forgiving and accepting as I thought they were, but God came through for me. Maybe a lesson to learn: not to depend on people, but depend on God. I shall dwell on what God did for me–that is the joy in this event.