It was 2:45 am.
That’s never a good time for the phone to ring.
It’s an emergency.
Her panicked voiced whispered over the line.
A precious little girl. My own 3-year-old’s best friend. A brain tumor. She’s only 3.
I don’t know how many times I’ve prayed for her. Countless. Add to that the countless times my little one has prayed for her bestie.
My sweet girl doesn’t understand of course. She just knows to pray.
Please help her to feel better, God.
Her mother’s voice over the line.
We need to take her to the hospital. She has spiked a fever.
We need help with the kids.
Fevers come and go in these growing bodies, but chemo and a shunt bring fevers to a new level of fear.
One of us will be right there.
I prayed that the words sounded calm and reassuring.
My warrior, bleary-eyed and solemn, dressed quickly, grabbed flight gear for the morning, and drove off into the freezing black night.
Now, I’ve prayed for many things in my life. I’ve prayed for the important, the trivial, the self-serving, the self-sacrificing. I’ve prayed most fervently for my children, my husband, my family and friends. I’ve begged for miraculous cures that never came. I’ve prayed for another’s change of heart, only to find my heart was the one needing change. I’ve prayed wordlessly. I’ve prayed desperately. I’ve prayed tear streaming sobs, and I’ve prayed worn tearless sorrow. I’ve prayed praise and thanks and disbelief. I have prayed.
Then, a flicker in my thoughts,
Do You hear them?
How do you pick the ones You will answer?
Will this one matter?
Stunned, I wondered, what if my prayer is like buying a lottery ticket?
Will this one win?
I pray, most of the time, for His will. But what if…
What if Your will is No?
What if Your will breaks these wounded hearts… again?
What if You don’t pick this one?
Why do I doubt Your good and perfect plan?
It was 3:30 am. Only a few hours until the bustling of breakfast. I picked it up… the Word He gives us. I prayed the emergency… 911.
I prayed Psalm 91 aloud in the darkness of my bedroom, illuminated only by the light from my phone.
You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day… (Psalm 91:5)
I read the Psalm again and again, with each reading allowing the words to sink deeper and speak louder to my shivering soul. I prayed it for our precious little friend, I prayed it for my warrior, I prayed it for my children… I prayed and prayed. Then, the words…
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (Psalm 91:14-16)
I prayed it out loud and His words shot through my dense human shield.
He hears. He answers. The answer may live here or in eternal heaven… but He answers.
He answers because. I. Love. Him.
It’s not about every prayer becoming the winning pick.
It’s not a luck of the draw.
It’s not anything we can buy.
He picks me. He picks you.
He picks us because He loves us.
I win. We win. Every time.
He met me right there on that dark, bitter cold night. He soothed my fears and He answered.
The fever is due to a virus. It’s not oncology related.
Her weary daddy answered the next morning.
We are going home in a little while.
It’s going to be another one of those days.
Another day of answered prayer. This one pleasing our human wishes. This one allowing our hearts rest and calm.
I don’t know when the next one will be needed. We keep on praying. Praying for His will. Praying for His strength. Praying for His peace that transcends all understanding.
It’s not a lottery ticket.
It’s a gift that pays out for all eternity.
He already paid the price.
Job 36: 5,7
“God is mighty, but does not despise men; he is mighty, and firm in his purpose. He does not keep the wicked alive but gives the afflicted their rights. He does not take his eyes off the righteous; he enthrones them with kings and exalts them forever.