As I sit here tonight, I realize that today God answered me, but in a way I did not expect. Today. This very day that I prayed.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Earlier today I was a part of a great big community Christian outreach/help event where those in need received food, clothes, lunch, haircuts, popcorn, the gospel, family Christmas photos -- there was a lot going on, and I was one of the little cogs in the wheel. I had prayed before and during that I'd be able to minister HELP that someone needed, and that I'd be able to COMFORT someone who needed it. As my pastor would say, "just love on them." Now, I did get to speak to a few dozen folks, and had a good experience, but I did not really think I had seen my prayer answered - not really. Now, plenty of folks received help and comfort, but I just did not feel I had really gotten that definite ANSWER.
And then tonight....
We live 2 streets away from a Christmas cul-de-sac. You know, the kind they list in the paper as a local Christmas decoration destination. All the families on the short street decorate, and even string lights across the empty lots. There are blow-up figures, Santa who sing and dance, wooden reindeer, lighted reindeer, Santa in a race car, Grinch, a cross, North Pole signs, everything and more.
Tonight, just after dark, our family took a stroll to see the lights. As we strolled up our street, a young teen on a bicycle called out to us - he was lost! Only 3 days in our neighborhood after moving from another state, he could not find his new home, even after looking for a half hour. (Anyone local can back me up - the street names are terribly repetitve here - think Oak Street, Oak Lane, Oak Run, Oak Circle, Oak Run Circle, Oak Run Drive, Oak Pass - I am not exaggerating). We took him back to our house, got on Google maps, while he got on my cell phone with Mom and Dad, got him on the right path, invited them to church tomorrow and Christmas Eve.
When we arrived on the Christmas street, a lady who lives there was outside. I spoke with her to ask about her Dad, who had passed away some months ago, and to offer our sympathies. We stayed much longer than we planned, as we reminisced about her father, a retired carpenter, how he loved to decorate, how he made all those wooden reaindeer, how he just met us on the street the first year we lived here, how he had invited us inside to see all his Christmas decorations, how he gave our daughter an ornament, what a special person he was. We had never met her, but knew her father. We probably talked together for 20 minutes.
On the way home, I hit redial on my phone to call and check to make sure the young man on the bicycle made it home. His parents both got on the phone to thank us for taking care of him.
Some hours later it struck me - my prayer for the morning had been answered in the evening! I prayed to be able to minister HELP and COMFORT, and God gave me opportunity to do both these things right in my own neighborhood. Tonight I am thanking God for answering in His own way.
Here is the ornament our kind neighbor gave Earthgirl. We remember him fondly. He loved to decorate for Christmas. Like Jesus, he was a carpenter. Like Jesus, he let the little children come to him.