I woke up the first day of 2014 not quite myself. For the next several days my walk became slower, dragging. I spent a lot of time staring vacantly with a glazed expression. My family ate their usual meals, but I recoiled with repulse. My breathing became shallow, and my voice turned unrecognizable. Pointing and one-word grunts became the norm. And when I looked in the mirror I knew what had happened. I had fallen victim to the worst case of stomach flu I’ve ever known, and it lasted for days. Ugh… I know. I’ll spare you the gory details.
I was lucid enough to notice my family preparing us for the Polar Vortex –filling water jugs, hauling in firewood, shoveling and plowing the snow, but I didn’t care. I was aware that we were all stuck inside the house, but I didn’t care. I was still trapped in sickness, consumed by thoughts of how wrung out and wretched I was. All I wanted was a cure for what ailed me.
And though physical relief had yet to come, the moment I felt relief in my soul was when I asked a handful of people to pray for me. Therein was the antidote. Laying me at the feet of Jesus were people who cared for me, who interceded on my behalf, who knocked repeatedly at His door asking for bread. It sustained me.
Bit by bit, through my half-opened zombie eyes, I began to recognize blessings. My husband refilling my water cup. Sons encouraging me to play games. Texts from Mom. Nearly-buried, twinkling Christmas lights. The power stayed on. Chap stick. Ginger Ale from a neighbor. Warm shower. Yogurt from my aunt. A restful nap.
Jesus walked with me through the frozen wasteland, held my hand, stroked my cheek, warmed me and coaxed me back to life. He does this through everyday means, and ordinary people. The power of prayer is undeniable. And God may answer with health and healing, or with strength, or encouragement, or with awareness. But the simple truth is He does listen, and He does answer in His time. And in the waiting, the knowledge of your name being raised in prayer is, in itself, uplifting.
“He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous.” Psalm 146:7-8