About 5 years ago, Nancy and I took our three kids to Ethiopia for a month of missions work. It was awesome, we learned so much together as a family about each other, and about serving the Lord together. You can read about our trip here. Erica had sent me an email during the first week of Garren's hospital stay. She had stumbled across one of my blogs describing an unexpected adventure that Garren and I went on. Basically, my camera was stolen, and we were presented with the opportunity to pray....a lot. You can read about the entire incident here.
Here is Erica's email:
"I'll start this by apologizing if it is long and hard to follow. I just wanted to share it with you since it has been on my heart this afternoon. I, along with many others, have been fasting and praying for you guys all day. During my planning time at work I was praying and then reading your blog. I began clicking on some of the links and to be honest, have no idea how I ended up where I did, but I was reading a post from your blog about your mission trip to Africa with Nancy and the kids. Phrases and words were practically leaping off the screen at me and felt the Lord's presence in a powerful way. At first I thought I was making too much of it (as I normally do when I am overwhelmed by God), but I reread the post again this afternoon and got that same overwhelming feeling. It was the post entitled "Leba, Leba". Below are some of the parts that stuck out to me the most...
I looked back to see what Garren was doing. He had made it safely half way across the street and was waiting for another car to pass.
It had all happened so fast. As we were walking I looked at Garren and said, “Are you praying?” He said “Yes.”
I tried to ask the one what was going on. He said “Relax.” So I did, and we waited.
As we waited, I contemplated prayer. We are supposed to pray according to the will of God. But I have to be honest. Although in the back of my mind, I thought “Your will be done,” deep down inside I was thinking, ‘My will be done, Lord, please get my camera back.” I don’t understand prayer, although I try. I have seen prayer work, I have seen God do amazing things. But I still don’t understand how prayer works. Why does God care if I get my camera back? I don’t understand.
“Jesus, please give me the camera back.” Again we waited.
I was floored, I didn’t know whether or not to get my hopes up, so I didn’t. Then I remembered, when we pray we should pray expectantly. Why ask for something, if we don’t think we will get it? I had been asking Jesus to get my camera back. But why did I still doubt?
Everyone was very helpful. I thanked the Lord again for answering my prayers. The police took a picture of the camera, and handed it to me. I put it right into my pocket, and off we went, back home with an amazing story to tell.
And as a mother, this one phrase stuck out in a huge way:
I knew Nancy must be quite concerned by this time, so I prayed that she would be at ease.
I don't know if any of this makes any sense to you, or if this only lines up in my mind, but I absolutely couldn't get it out of my head. I had to share it with you. I will continue to pray and wait expectantly. I love you guys!"
Thank you Erica! What impressed me most about this is that prayer, not matter how big or little your circumstance, is important. Whether you're praying for something as serious as the life of a loved one, or for something as small as a stolen camera, God cares, and wants to hear from us. In fact, I don't think the object of our prayer is the point at all. It's the dependence on God that is most important.
What are you holding on to? Give it to God. Depend on Him.
"Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken." - Psalm 55:22