Many months back, a friend came over to my house for a playdate. As she was packing up to leave, I admired her new-to-her car. She was expecting twins at the time and had needed a new car because of car seats, but couldn’t easily afford one. Someone she knew sold her a great car for its trade-in value. It was a huge blessing! I thought of my husband’s dying car, my own baby on the way, and decided that I needed to begin praying that God was provide in the same way he had for my friend.
So I prayed.
Well, my husband’s car actually did end up dying, so the situation became more pronounced. I enlisted my life group to pray, too. I asked friends to pray alongside of me. Sharing a car wouldn’t work for long.
So we prayed.
Last spring, we discovered that my newly-diagnosed autistic son would have to start preschool, speech therapy, and social learning therapy, which meant many weekly appointments during work hours. Sharing a car was no longer an option. At this point, we began to double down our efforts as we prayed and scoured car websites daily.
So we prayed.
And asked people we knew.
And test drove.
One day, I was just finishing up a visit with friends when one handed me an envelope. I asked with a smile, “What’s this?” She told me it was from her sister. Her sister? I was surprised because I’ve only met her sister a few times and barely knew her. Inside I found a note.
As I read, tears started to well up in my eyes, but it wasn’t until I looked at the check enclosed that I was speechless. It was a lot.
After months of praying and waiting for God to do what he did for my friend, he worked in a completely different way. He worked in an extravagant, unexpected, are-you-kidding-me kind of way. Here I am, months later, still shocked as I look back on that moment. I’ve had time to grapple with the realization that I will never be able to predict just how God will move in my life, but can be certain that he will, he is.
When I think about the things that worry me right now, I am called to remember. I remember my friend’s story of how God provided for her family (and many others like it). I remember that day when someone prayerfully handed me a check, not knowing what exactly for*, but in obedience to God’s movement in her spirit. I remember Jeremiah looking around at his ravaged home and still declaring in Lamentations 3:22-24
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul,
‘therefore I will hope in him.’”
I am called to remember the Lord who is the same yesterday, today, and forever and yet continues to work in new ways. Following Jesus will frequently surprise me. I can’t predict it, negotiate it, or orchestrate it, much as I try.
I am also called to remember that he is my portion; my hope is in him, not in answered prayers or having the life I believe I need or deserve. Honestly, I can’t be assured that every prayer will be answered in the way I want, and even when they are, it certainly won’t be in my timing. What I can be assured of is that God is powerful beyond measure and that he is good. His steadfast love never ceases. He has new mercies for today, no matter what the day brings (or doesn’t bring).
May we have eyes to see his mercies today.
* I should note here that the amount she gave us didn’t even cover our car. It actually covered my son’s preschool tuition for the year, which wasn’t the prayer she intended to answer (but the one God did).