Sunday, January 14, 2018

Unusual Answers to Prayer

 Sometimes the answers to prayer come in unusual ways.  Praying for stuffed animals has been the saga of my life for more than a decade, and it's always amazing to see the way God answers.

On Tuesday we were shoveling out from the latest round of snow when the call came from a generous donor who wanted to bring 1100 stuffed animals over.  I was scheduled to volunteer at a local clothing pantry, so we made arrangements for them to bring the animals in late afternoon.

This donation--a wonderful answer to prayer--should have made me deliriously happy.  Instead, as I hauled the bags into my living room I felt a cloud of resentment settle over me.  I didn't want my living room filled with bags--even if they did hold treasured blessings.  Furthermore, I didn't want to tackle the job of sorting and bagging those animals.  So I shoved the bags into spare bedrooms and sulked around the house for a few hours, knowing that wouldn't really solve anything.

The next morning I was honest with God and confessed me lack of gratitude for His good gifts. I asked him to change my attitude because I felt powerless to do that myself.

Within an hour I was on my way to pray with a friend when I realized God was answering my prayer. My spirit felt more buoyant.  At the same time, I kept feeling an urge to call a fellow team member and ask her to help me.  I pulled the car over, sent a text, and her quick response told me she'd be glad to join the sorting adventure.

A few hours later we spent some time in prayer together before we we tackled the stuffed animals. What a great time of fellowship and prayer we enjoyed.  It turns out that was something we both needed.

By the next day the animal sorting was nearly finished.  The weather was a balmy 59 degrees but the weather prediction called for a sudden drop in temperatures and an ice storm within a few hours.  I was desperate to get the animals out of the house and my husband was kind enough to quickly help me finish bagging them.  Just as we got them loaded into the car the cold rain started.  Despite that, we got to the container, shoveled the remnants of snow from the door, and got them stashed.

God's grace astounds me as He answers my prayers again and again--first with His provision of my material needs and then His amazing grace over my helplessness to change my sinful attitudes.  And in the middle of it all He grants this sweet fellowship with other believers and, most especially, with Him.

And while I was trying to motivate myself to complete my little task, a steadfast servant on the other side of town was tirelessly cutting rope to make jump ropes.  By the end of the weekend he'd cut 21 rolls of rope into 3,675 pieces.  Now we're ready to make them into ropes on our first work day on February 21st.

Thank You, Lord, for answering prayer in ways I never could imagine.

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