Last night I knelt down to pray for help. I was exhausted and discouraged.
Before I share this, I must admit that ever since my husband drowned, I have so often felt alone, and inadequate, and insufficient. I have often prayed, and I have seen bountiful evidence of God’s hand in my life. So often when l need help, and offer a prayer, help appears.
Not always is it instantaneous, of course. There have been those endless nights of petitioning my Heavenly Father for help for a situation that I have no control over, and those next mornings, awakening still with a heavy heart, not seeing any solution. I have gone weeks pleading for relief, for answers, and for direction. There are burdens I have been praying over for years that I see no resolution to.
I have never felt God has deserted me, but I certainly feel I am being allowed to stretch, to learn patience (and to learn it again!) to develop more faith, and to learn to trust God more implicitly.
Almost always, though, eventually I see the answer – and in those rare instances where I still don’t see it, I know that He is there, and He is saying, “Just a little longer. Your time is not my time, and you do not see what I see. Hold on just a little longer.”
You know the verse – “Be still and know that I am God.”*
But last night, I needed help, and I know that only God could have known my predicament.
In a few weeks, I have two children getting married, four days apart. (Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but we’re bringing siblings in from all around the country, so we decided to do both weddings while everyone is in town.)
I’ve been looking for matching dresses for my two little granddaughters for a reasonable price, and found some for one wedding, but not for the other. (Yes, we should have coordinated colors better 😉
So, last night after weeks of shopping in vain, I trudged to the fabric store, chose a pattern and fabric, and drove home. I washed and pressed the fabric, and it was getting late as I laid it out on the cutting mat, but I was determined to at least get them cut out that night.
Before I opened the pattern, I prayed.
“Heavenly Father, I thank Thee for sending my children sweet people to marry. I thank Thee for the strength Thou hast sent to help me get things ready for the weddings. But Heavenly Father, tonight I need help. Please help me not to make mistakes. Help me be clear-headed as I cut and sew. And help me to do it all quickly so I can get everything else ready for these weddings.”
I sighed, and was laying out the pattern pieces when my phone rang.
“Ros, I hear you are doing TWO weddings soon! Are you crazy?” It was my friend, Aneladee* (isn’t that a beautiful name? you pronounce it like “a melody”, and her friendship truly brings a song to my heart!)
We laughed about what a wild ride it is to do two weddings at once, and then she said, “How can I help you? What can I do to help?”
I was speechless. She is the most amazing seamstress I have EVER known. She outfits whole acting troupes for Shakespeare Festivals, and instantly I knew she was God’s answer to my prayer.
I told her my situation, and she said, “I’ll come pick them up in the morning. You get them cut out, and I’ll get them put together. Tomorrow I’ve got some free hours, so let me take that off your plate! And, in addition, I’d love to provide the desserts for your wedding luncheon. Let me do that, too.”
As soon as we hung up, I knelt down again, but this time with a heart full of gratitude and wonder.
Tender mercies, that’s what I call them; the very obvious answers from God in our daily lives, sending help for things that others might look at and think, “That’s not such a big deal”, but to us that are burdens hard to bear. God does answer prayer.
If you are struggling with burdens, and feel alone, turn to God. He is there, and especially for the person who is struggling to do both parents’ jobs and to maintain some sense of sanity, He is listening.
Eliza M. Hickock said it beautifully in her poem, Prayer:
I know not by what methods rare,
But this I know, God answers prayer.
I know that He has given His Word,
Which tells me prayer is always heard,
And will be answered, soon or late.
And so I pray and calmly wait.
I know not if the blessing sought
Will come in just the way I thought;
But leave my prayers with Him alone,
Whose will is wiser than my own,
Assured that He will grant my quest,
Or send some answer far more blest.
(Eliza M. Hickok, “Prayer,” Best Loved Religious Poems, ed. James Gilchrist Lawson, New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1933, p. 160.)
God’s answer to me last night was “far more blessed” than the help I had asked for. He sent an angel, clothed in flesh.
Tonight, I will pray again. And after I give thanks, I will pray that He will answer her prayers that I am sure she, too, is sending Heavenward.
Because I know, God answers prayer.
- Psalms 46:10
- Eliza M. Hickok, “Prayer,” Best Loved Religious Poems, ed. James Gilchrist Lawson, New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1933, p. 160.)