Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (NIV)
Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (NIV)
People sometimes tell me that they admire how I have handled the challenges in my life. They could see that being a single parent was not easy, especially given that both my daughter and I had serious chronic illnesses to manage. There were also difficulties at work due to my condition, and at school because of my daughter’s learning disability.
Well, the truth of the matter is that my way of handling most of the challenges was to pray. I was able to persevere and overcome them only because I prayed without ceasing. I didn’t handle the problems on my own. God was my refuge and strength.
Sometimes, we forget to pray. We might think that our problems are too small or that God doesn’t really see us or want to come to our aid. But I can tell you that He most definitely does. One time, while I was coping with work pressures and illness in my extended family, my kitchen was invaded by rats. The exterminator finally caught them, but by then, the cupboards were like a hazardous waste site. I couldn’t bear to clean up the horrible mess myself. I called a cleaning service, but once they saw the extent of the detritus, they refused to touch it. I didn’t know what to do. I was at my wit’s end and emotionally exhausted.
Well, you know what happened next? A church friend that I hadn’t been in touch with for awhile phoned me out of the blue and asked what was going on with me. I told her my tale of woe and how I was at the end of my rope. In response, she offered to clean up the mess for me. She assured me that she could deal with the problem because she grew up in India and this task was nothing for her. I just had to get her some bleach, a pair of rubber gloves, and a face mask. When I protested that I couldn’t possibly ask her to do that, she insisted, “God told me to call you.” Can you imagine that? In my distress, God sent me someone to rescue me who knew His voice and was obedient. I was astounded and so grateful!
How often does that happen and we don’t recognize that it is God at work? The right person comes along, and we think that it is “just by chance” that they crossed our path. Many, many times I have been aware of God’s provision with my finances. How else could I have the financial security that I have now? A friend asked me the other day whether I had help buying my house. I replied that I hadn’t — but I should have given God the glory. His was the only help that I needed.
It is important that we pray in times of trouble. But it is also important that we keep our eyes and ears open to see what God has done in response. A friend finds a job, a surgery goes well, or we find the money to pay for something that we need. God cares for us, and He moves in so many different ways and in all manner of situations to help us. There is nothing that He cannot do. God hears us when we pray. For our part, we need to be watchful and thankful for how He answers and moves in mysterious ways.
Prayer: Dear Father, thank You for Your loving care and for how You watch over us. Thank You for how You answer when we cry out to You in times of trouble. Help us to see You at work so that by our testimony, we can give You the glory, honour, and praise. Amen.
Helen Morrison Victoria, British Columbia, Canada