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A Wing and a Prayer

This post is a part of my 10-minute Tuesday series. I write for just 10 minutes on a one-word prompt provided by a friend. Today’s prompt is “prayer.”

The title of today’s post came to mind quickly, but I actually wanted to look up its origins to understand it. It originates from the idea of a damaged military plane coming in for a landing. It’s got a wing to fly with, but maybe not much more. So, it’s coming in on a wing and a prayer.

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I’ve seen miraculous healings; I’ve seen situations that seemed insurmountable be overcome by prayer. Most recently, a friend of mine had a dire diagnosis of stage 3 or 4 ovarian cancer. When the doctors went in to perform a complete hysterectomy, they found that the cancer was contained in only 1 ovary and was only a stage 1. Complete recovery is now the prognosis.

I have another friend whose baby in utero was diagnosed with a condition that caused his organs to grow into his chest cavity, causing his lungs to be unable to develop correctly. It’s more complicated than that, but regardless, 3 weeks after he was born and surgery was performed to correct the issue, he was able to go home. They thought he would be there for 6 months.

There is story after story after story about how prayer made a difference. Not every circumstance was changed, but every heart was. I have another friend who is currently heartbroken over a lost dog. They just moved to a new house after living on a 15-acre farm for many years, and the dog got out of the new place. It’s been 4 days and he is nowhere to be found. People are looking for him and praying for his safe return, but we obviously don’t know the outcome. And so I pray not only that he would be found, but that their hearts would be comforted.

Prayer is a mysterious thing. We can approach it as if God is a cosmic vending machine, just there to give us what we want. And if He doesn’t, then what good is He anyway?

Or we can view prayer as an amazing opportunity to draw near to the heart of God. He is sovereign and He is able to do abundantly more than we ask or imagine, and one of those abundant things he gives is Himself.

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Does it feel like you’re just coming in on a wing and a prayer? Believe it or not, that is enough.

As in most of my short posts, there is not enough time to delve into the whole subject of prayer. These are just a few of my quick thoughts. I’d love to hear what you think!

 

 

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If You Are Willing

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes on a one-word prompt, without heavy editing, and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “willing.”

“While He was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man covered with leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately the leprosy left him” (Luke 5:12-13 NASB).

I have a friend, Marcey, whose 22-year-old daughter, Julia, became very ill. After many weeks, a large mass was discovered in her abdomen that was pushing all her organs out of the way. She was in excruciating, debilitating pain. Surgery was performed and 90+ percent of the tumor was removed. Within 6 weeks, it had grown back.

The doctors were stymied. Even the top tumor experts were not able to figure out what this tumor was. It had never been seen before.

As friends were rallied to pray, radiation and chemo therapies were applied. At one point, Marcey told me they thought they were going to lose her. She was so weak. There didn’t seem to be any hope.

And yet we prayed.

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Julia sporting her new wig (photo courtesy her mom)

Just two days ago, Marcey reported that there has been a turnaround in Julia’s prognosis. The chemotherapy is working and the tumors are shrinking. The doctor’s are jubilant as is her family. Today she is off her pain pump and trusting God for a future that just weeks ago she wasn’t sure she would have.

She’s a walking miracle.

We asked God to be willing to heal her, and His answer was, “Yes.”

But we know that’s not always His answer in this life. But He is always our portion. Whether healed in this life or not, we always have our hope in Him.

Even though my 5 minutes are up, I’m going to add a note here that this is a way bigger subject than can be tackled in just 5 minutes. This story is fresh on my heart and I wanted to share it, but I know that there are so many people who have not experienced healing of either themselves or a loved one. I lost both my mom and my grandmother to cancer and have known many others who have succumbed to this dread disease. There are no guarantees of physical healing here on earth, but I stand on the fact that God is good. Whether His healing happens here or not, He is good and He redeems all things. If you or someone you love is in need of God’s healing touch, keep praying: Your will be done.

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Arrows Not Answers

Today’s post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for 5 minutes on a one-word prompt and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “Question.”

What I’m about to say I’m taking directly from fellow Redbud Writer’s Guild friend Emily P. Freeman. In a podcast from last year, Emily talked about the fact that we’re always looking for answers from God. We want clarity, we want details. But God doesn’t tend to answer our questions in that way. So her podcast episode was titled “Look for Arrows (Not Answers).”

emily freeman podcastI thought that was brilliant.

I also loved a prayer she prayed near the end. It included this line: “We are looking for a plan but then You offer us Your hand. May it be enough today.”

We want plans, He offers His hand. We don’t always know where He’s taking us. Most of the time we have more questions than we do answers, but if we trust the character of God, we will take that hand and let Him lead.

Ever gone out looking for yard sales on a Saturday? Many times all we see are signs with arrows drawn on them. Go this way. When you need to turn again, we’ll let you know. Meanwhile, keep going. There will be treasures at the end.

Yard sales don’t always end in treasures because, you know, yard sales. But we know that if we walk with God, we will find the treasure of His presence wherever we go.

Take His hand. Keep walking. You can ask the questions if you want to, but don’t be surprised if He doesn’t answer them all.

Find this podcast on Emily’s website, emilypfreeman.com. The podcast is called The Next Right Thing. Subscribe. It’s really good. That’s where I got the image above.

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The Eternal “Why?”

This post is a part of my 10-minute Tuesday series. I take a one-word prompt and write for 10 minutes without heavy editing and see what happens. Heresy? Hopefully not! Just realize that things are not necessarily fully thought through. Consider it food for thought.

When my kids turned 3, they all entered the “why?” stage. Any answer they were given or thing they were told always prompted the question, “Why?” from them. Not wanting to squelch curiosity, I would answer as much as I could, but eventually I would grow weary of it and say, “Just because!”

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Somehow, “why?” is a question we want answered all the way through our lives. It’s something we challenge God with often. And it’s not something that we get an answer to very often. “Why do I have to go to bed now?” turns into “Why is this happening to me?” Why do I have to suffer? Why is my child dealing with cancer? Why did you let my husband die?

Unlike us, God does not grow weary of our questions, but on the other hand, He doesn’t choose to answer our “whys” very often either.

Maybe “why?” isn’t actually the right question. Maybe we need to be asking, “How can I know You better through this?” What can I learn about You? How am I going to walk with You through this? How are You going to reveal yourself to me?

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I don’t think God cares that we ask, I just don’t think He owes us an explanation. Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORDFor as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

I don’t think that’s quite the equivalent of “because I’m the mom, that’s why,” but there is a strong element of trust that needs to go into our life with the Lord. We know from Romans that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romas 8:28). As C.S. Lewis said, “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”

For our good and His glory. That’s why.

Just One Touch

This post is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for 5 minutes on a prompt without any heavy editing and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “touch.”

All she thought she needed was to touch the hem of His robe. She knew that He had healed others and she had waited a long, long time for God to heal her from her affliction.

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The crowds pressed in, but she pushed through and reached out her hand.

Just a touch.

Just His robe.

That would be enough.

And it was. She knew as soon as she touched him that she was healed. She felt the effects in her body.

And He felt the effects in His. “Somebody touched Me,” He said to His disciples.

The disciples shrugged it off. The crowds were tight around them. Of course someone touched Him. How could they not.

But He knew it was different. He knew that someone with faith had purposely reached out to Him, longing to be healed.

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He stopped, He saw the woman, and He reached out to her. “And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace'” Luke 8:47-48.

Jesus sees you. Reach out in faith. He doesn’t always bring physical healing, we know that. But He will always bring peace.

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Do The Next Thing

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes without heavy editing on a one-word prompt. Today we talk about the word “next.” 

I have a tendency to get overwhelmed fairly easily. I can look at all the things I have to do, all the things that are coming up, and stress about what that’s going to look like to my low-energy body. And I have a heart rhythm issue that rears its ugly head when I am stressed. This week had that over-stressed potential.

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My husband has been gone this week, my daughter and mother in law, who lives with us, have both been sick, and life still had to go on. I still had to have food in the house. I still had to care for my 15-month-old grandson most of those days.

And then our water heater went out.

And I have 36 people coming for Easter.

And my oldest is graduating from college in a couple of weeks.

And now I’ve got the cold my daughter had, albeit a light version.

So how do I maintain peace and not let the stress, well, stress me out?

Just do the next thing. Don’t look too far down the road. Just take the next step.

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And I breathe deeply, letting the peace of God, which passes all understanding, guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

It’s oh so necessary.

Especially when I just now got a text that my husband’s flight home this afternoon has been cancelled.

Breathe in peace. Breathe out stress. Breathe in peace. Breathe out stress.

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Lacking in Nothing

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for 5 minutes on a one-word prompt and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “lack.”

Don’t we all want to be without lack? We want to be able to have all that we need all the time. Our bank accounts always have money in them. Our fridges always have food. Our cars always have gas. Our lives have meaning and our hearts are full of love.

Sounds idyllic doesn’t it?

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Yet what does James, the brother of Jesus, say is necessary for us to be without lack? Let’s listen in to his letter to the 12 tribes of Israel who were scattered in the dispersion.

“Count it all joy my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).

Whaaat?

Ugh.

I’m sorry, but I don’t want to have to face trials in order to be perfect and complete. That doesn’t sound like a lot of fun.

Why can’t we just get that by being good? By doing what we’re supposed to do? By crossing our T’s and dotting our I’s?

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Because, my dear friends, that doesn’t produce steadfastness. It doesn’t make us stronger. It doesn’t drive us to the arms of Jesus.

In her brand new book Glorious Weakness: Discovering God In All We Lack, Alia Joy says, glorious weakness“Sometimes the holiest ground is the emptiest.”

In all our trials, in our lack here on this broken planet, we find Jesus. Perfection and completeness won’t happen until we see Him face to face.

Press on. Lacking nothing will be worth it in the end.

 

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