February 5, 2007
Unexpected Answers to Prayer
“Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21 NASB).
Friend to Friend
When I was eight years old, my prized possession was a collie dog named, what else, Lassie. Lassie was my shadow. She ran along side me as I pedaled around the neighborhood on my pink-glittered banana bike. She slept outside the door of my one-room playhouse when my best fiend, Wanda, and I “camped out.” She protected me from dangerous strangers, such as the paperboy, the mailman, and the trash collector.
When the veterinarian told us that Lassie had an incurable skin disease and needed to be put to sleep, I was devastated. And even though she was my dog, my dad was almost as heartbroken as I was. He could not bring himself to purposely end Lassie’s life, so he drove her out to an old farmhouse about fifteen miles from town.
“Could you please take care of my dog for me?” he asked the old farmer. “She’s got a skin disease, but I can’t bring myself to put her down.”
“Sure,” the fellow agreed. “Just leave her here. We’ll look after her for you.”
I never did get the particulars. Did he pay the man? Was he a nice man? Did he have children? All I knew was that Dad had done the best he could.
Months later, Dad went by to check in on the old girl. “I’m sorry, Mr. Edwards,” the old farmer said. “Lassie ran away a few days after you left her here. We’ve never seen her since.”
Dad never told me Lassie had run away. But each time he drove into Tarboro, the town near where he had left her, he panned the landscape, looking for a lost dog that answered to the name of Lassie. Miraculously, one day he spotted a collie wandering around the street. Dad jumped out of the car, pulled his pipe out of his mouth, and called out, “Lassie, here girl. Come here, girl.” As he clapped his hands together, the dog bounded toward my dad, almost knocking him off his feet. A flurry of fur, tail wagging, and sloppy dog kisses smothered Dad as the two were reunited. What a surprise we had that evening when Lassie came cruising home in the gray Buick.
“Lassie! Lassie!” I cried.
I had never seen such a welcome sight. As a matter of fact, her skin disease was completely gone, and her coat was thicker and more beautiful than ever. All was well with the world.
Two weeks later, my older brother was out wrestling with Lassie in the yard. Dazed and ashen faced, he stumbled through the door.
“Mom, we’ve got a big problem,” he said. “You know Lassie, well…well…she’s not a lassie at all. She’s a laddie. This dog is a boy!”
“What!” my mother exclaimed.
“We ran outside and checked. Sure enough, she was a he. This was not our dog! No wonder her (his) coat looked so thick and healthy.
“Mom,” I said,”If this isn’t Lassie, then who is it? We’ve stolen someone’s pet!”
Needless to say, we put ads in the Tarboro and Rocky Mount papers, but no one ever claimed Laddie. He seemed perfectly content at our home, so there he stayed.
Have you ever wanted something so badly – hunted, searched, and maybe even prayed – then when you found it, you realized that maybe it wasn’t exactly what you wanted, but it was definitely what you needed? I wanted my dog back. Laddie wanted a family. And for one little girl and a stray pup, God answered my prayer. As usual, His answer had an unexpected twist, but it was perfect in every way.
Dear Lord, sometimes when I pray, I have in my mind how I want You to answer the prayer or fix the problem. Sometimes I pray and at the same time try to figure out how to remedy the situation on my own. But this one thing I know – when I place a troubling situation in Your hands and take my hands off, You answer the prayer in a much better way than I could have ever imagined. Today, I give You (fill in the blank with your particular need). Thank You for answering my prayers exceedingly abundantly more than I could ever ask or think. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Now it's Your Turn
After Jesus was resurrected, Christians were persecuted and even killed. Saul of Tarsus was one of the main instigators of the cruelty towards the church.
If you had been a Christian during those days, how might you have prayed about the people who were persecuting the saints? How would you have prayed about Saul, the man who held the robes while the mob stoned Stephen to death? (Acts 8:1).
How did God answer those prayers? (Acts 9).
How was God’s solution to the problem of Saul (Paul) different from the way you might have handled it?
Which way was better?
Today’s devotion was taken from Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes.
Girlfriends in God, Inc.