Sunday, October 20, 2013

A short story

I remember when my mother's prayers changed.  We had been praying for a long time about the things that lurked outside our  doors.  Children or not, my mother never hid from us the realities that loomed. Business was bad, everything seemed to be in jeopardy all the time.  It was like at any moment my dad and she might be out of work, we might have to leave our school. There was no sure foundation.  And every day we prayed together as a family, "Please just keep the wolves away."

"Sustain us," she prayed.  She asked for provision, with doubt in her voice she wished aloud to God that prosperity might even return-- but in her voice was more question than confidence that God was even listening.  It was a prayer of fear.

I remember when her prayers shifted from fear to confidence.  What she was praying for was far less clear, but how she was praying was obvious. "God, do what You will," she said.  "Lead us where you would have us go." I wondered what that meant.  I could sense she wondered too, but it was obvious that she was suddenly less concerned with the what, or even the where or how - now all her focus seemed to be on the Who of her prayer.

Everything changed with my mother's prayers.  It was far from easy, but despite some really difficult days, it was better, not because our circumstances got any better, because they really didn't, but it was because suddenly God seemed to be in the midst of those circumstances no matter what they were.

The storms were hard - sometimes it was like standing in the edge of the sea and the waves kept crashing and knocking us down - hard, sometimes painfully so, but every time my mother would rise again.  She turned to us as well and told us "Stand up."  She was tired, we were tired, it hurt, we suffered loss, but it was like my mother would stand beside me with her her hand holding me up under the arm. As I leaned into her she would point out past the waves and say, "He's coming. Hold on - see the Light? God's working."

There were lots of days when I wished God would just have answered my mother's doubt filled prayers for provision and perhaps prosperity, surely it would have been easier. But now looking back all these years later, I know these prayers were better, because they didn't just change how things were, but they changed who we were. It changed Who God was to us, and for that I am forever grateful, because even now in my life when my mother has been gone for a very long time, I look out onto the horizon and tell my own children, and their children to look out past the storm, and with confidence I tell them, "He's coming. Hold on - see the Light? God's working."  And I know it's true, and my children will know it's true, and their children, and all the generations to come have the Hope of knowing it's not the what we place our confidence in in our prayers, but it's the Who.

This story is completely fiction... for now... in Jesus' name. 

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