When you hear a story about an incredible answer to pray, do you believe it or are you quick to chalk it up to urban legend or exaggeration? In my last blog I typed out a story told by Helen Roseveare, a medical missionary in Zaire, Africa (Click HERE to read Part 1). Here is the rest of the story, in her own words (with some paraphrasing from me along the way):
Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time that I reached the home, the car had gone, but there, on the veranda, was a large 22 pound parcel!
I felt tears pricking my eyes as I sent for the orphanage children. Some 30 or 40 pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. Excitement was mounting as we opened it up to see what was inside. The first layer of the package contained desperately needed new clothing for the children. Then I discovered other much needed items like bandages for the leprosy patients. Plus, some fun snacks for the children like raisins.
As I put my hand in again, I felt the . . . could it really be? I grasped it, and pulled it out. Yes, a brand-new rubber hot water bottle! I cried. I had not asked God to send it, ten-year-old Ruth had done that because I had not truly believed that He could.
Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, “If God has sent the hot water bottle for the baby; He must have sent the dolly for her big sister too!”
Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully dressed dolly. Looking up at me she asked, “Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she’ll know that Jesus really loves her?”
The parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God’s prompting five months earlier to send a hot water bottle — to the equator. That was the first miracle… and the life of the premature baby was saved as a result. The second miracle was that a child in the Sunday school class heard the still small voice of God and responded by making sure a dolly was also included in that care package. A dolly for a newly orphaned big sister who needed a reminder that even though her mommy had died, God had not abandoned her and still cared for her.
Should we be surprised by these events? After all here is what God said through the prophet Isaiah: “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer, and while they are yet speaking, I will hear” – Isaiah 65:24.
So that’s the story.
Now here are some questions for reflection:
- Do you think this story is… a complete fabrication… an exaggeration of actual events… a coincidence… or 100% truth? Why did you choose the answer you did?
- Who needs a “hot water bottle” or a “dolly” in your life? May you take action to get it to them.
- What need do you or a loved one have in your life that you think is a waste of time to pray about, the equivalent of asking God for a hot water bottle while living near the equator? How about if you begin praying for that need today and see what God does?
***Are Natural Afflictions Always Natural? That is the title of my sermon this Sunday as we continue our series on Angels & Demons. January 18. 10:30am. More info at tevchurch.org***