I pray a lot but sometimes I wonder if my prayers bounce off the ceiling. Does God really hear? Does He really care? Do you ever feel that way? The first weekend of this month I was looking forward to speaking in Dubuque, Iowa, by way of Cedar Rapids, at the Emmaus Bible College women's conference. But I wasn't looking forward to getting there. Earlier this year on a similar occasion, my flight to that area of the country was suddenly and without explanation cancelled, leaving me to hopscotch around several airports, running from gate to gate, and arriving several hours after my first speaking session. I dreaded a replay and asked students and friends to pray. Yes, it's a silly irrational fear. I want to be a pillar of courage, and usually I am, but this silly fear kept dogging me.
On the way to the airport, I confessed my dread to my dear friend and chauffer Carla. She's someone you can trust to pray for you. I felt embarrassed when I told her. I'm grateful for people who love us despite our weaknesses and even listen kindly. I told Carla about an earlier solo trip when God provided a fellow traveler "to get lost with"–and how grateful I was. And then, as I recounted God's kind help on that trip, I felt worse. Shouldn't God's faithfulness in providing a friend then have given me more courage and trust for this trip? Yes. Ugh, why these silly concerns? I'm a big girl so why am I letting this get to me? Because of airport construction Carla and I were forced to detour, arriving at the drop-off a few minutes late, but early enough. At that moment, as I exited the car I heard a woman shouting "Sue". I was surprised to see one of our church's elders and his wife Mary pulling up behind us. She hustled over to gave me a big hug.
"Where are you going?" I inquired.
"Cedar Rapids–to visit our daughter".
Yes, we were on the same flight, which left on time from the announced gate, as did my return flight, even though it carried only fifteen people. What if Carla and I had not been forced to detour and arrived earlier? I might have found Mary and her husband at the gate but the divine appointment saved me even a minute's more concern. What a kind Father to tenderly comfort His troubled child! No one will ever convince me that this encounter was accidental. God does hear and He does care, even about the insignificant silly stuff we sometimes let shackle us.
In her book "Thin Places" Mary DeMuth describes the thin veil between God and us. He's right there. He's involved. Often we miss His interventions due to distractions. Often He orchestrates situations that protect us, instruct us, encourage us, even discipline us. But it's for our good. Occasionally, He simply extends His hand of grace and whispers, "I've got this, dear one. Trust Me." Our part is to remember. This blog is my memorial stone for the next time I head to the airport. And I need to remember to ask friends to pray. We weren't designed to do life alone. That's the way it's supposed to work–and it does.