Monday, September 05, 2005

FAITH IN THE FACE OF A STORM



At this time of sadness and uncertainty in the Gulf States, we need to be uplifted by our faith!

This was written by a doctor who worked in South Africa...

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died leaving us with a tiny premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator).

We also had no special feeding facilities. Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in.

Another went to strike up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates). "And it is our last hot water bottle!" she exclaimed. As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa, it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles.

They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.

"All right," I said, "put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts. Your job is to keep the babt warm."

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayer with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.

During prayer time, one ten-year old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. "Please, God" she prayed, "send us a water bottle. It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon."

While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, "And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she'll know You really love her?"

As often with children's prayer, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say, "Amen". I just did not believe that God could do this. Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything, the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren't there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from homeland.

I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator! 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 I reached home, the car had gone, but there, on the veranda, was a large twenty-two pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children.

Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored.

Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas - that would make a batch of buns for the weekend. Then, 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; 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 bottle, He must have sent the dolly too!"

Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted!

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?"

That 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 to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child - five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it "that afternoon."

"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 KJV)

The following prayer takes less than a minute. When you read this, say the prayer and show it to someone else. Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive. There is no cost but a lot of rewards.

Let's continue praying for one another and for those ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Father, I ask you to bless my friends reading this right now. I am asking You to minister to their spirit at this very moment. Where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy. Where there is self-doubting, release a renewed confidence to work through them. Where there is tiredness or exhaustion, I ask You to give them understanding, guidance and strength as they learn submission to Your leading. Where there is spiritual stagnation, I ask You to renew them by revealing Your nearness, and by drawing them into greater intimacy with You. Where there is fear, reveal Your love, and release to them Your courage. Where there is a sin blocking them, reveal it, and break its hold over my friend's life. Bless their finances, give them greater vision, and raise up leaders and friends to support and encourage them. Give each of them discernment to recognize the evil forces around them, and reveal to them the power they have in You to defeat it. I ask You to do these things in Jesus' name. AMEN

At this time of great sadness and tragedy in Lousiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, those survivors need our prayers and help. Below I have listed some of my favorite organizations, that have a proven track record and are on site helping the disaster survivors, at this time. Donations of money are the best way to help at this time, because of lack of facilities for storage or transportation of items. The organizations are buying what they need in the areas. Please prayerfully consider helping in any way you can:


Focus on the Family
Salvation Army
The American Red Cross

"Do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps if you're not willing to move your feet."

8 Comments:

  1. meljkerr said...
    Wow! I read today in Psalm 139:3 (NLT) "You chart the path ahead of me". What a perfect example of the care our God demonstrates towards even the smallest of souls.
    Debrand said...
    Great post.
    Glory said...
    Love the quote at the end. Keep writing!
    Lucy Stern said...
    Ahhh..The faith of a child. Jesus Christ loved little children, for he knew that they had great faith. It teaches us that we need great faith. The woman packing the box, had good ears to hear the Lords voice as he told her to pack a hot water bottle. These stories teach us plenty. Thanks for the wonderful prayer.
    I live in Houston, TX so I am seeing of wonderful people of all races and religions working together to do the Lords work. It is a great sight. It shows to me that the Lord works thru his children.
    Dee said...
    Girl, this story is mindblowing. I needed that prayer for myself.
    Tammy & Jeremy said...
    I used to work for the Salvation Army and I will attest to the fact that all donations go to the right place. This world, and this country especially, needs our support. Let's not send everyone to the pre-morgue sites if they can get help first! GIVE like you have never given before. LOVE like your heart is going to explode. And Feel as though empathy is all you know.
    M. C. Pearson said...
    Oh, Bonnie...you made me smile, cry, sigh, and laugh with joy. What a wonderful story of faith. Thanks for the prayer...we all need that, don't we? Love Ya!
    afp763389 said...
    ... :/

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