It was, perhaps, the shortest prayer I had ever prayed and came from the very depths of my heart. Despite its lack of verbosity, that one simple word encapsulated everything that my overwhelmed soul needed to say.
It was, quite simply, my Mayday prayer; an SOS to God to come and rescue us before we sank any further than we already were.
As I breathed that desperate cry to the Lord, I rolled over in bed and tried to slip back into that blessed dream world of unreality where sick husbands and financial stresses had no place.
With a little groan I turned again and, finding sleep still elusive, opened the Bible of my heart to remind myself of all God's wonderful promises. Then, with His Word as a prayer on my lips, I closed my eyes and finally rested in Him and from the cares of this world.
The first light of morning came creeping through our bedroom window all too soon as the alarm clock signalled that it was time to start another day. Heading down the hall to the bathroom, my mind immediately switched back into action and began its inventory of everything that was going wrong.
For one thing, Steve was quite sick again (with symptoms that were a carbon copy of what he’d had before he developed pneumonia nearly two months previously) and for the other, our finances were becoming quite uncomfortably tight (although there was no connection between the two concerns).
Moments later, as I stood under the warm spray of the shower, I closed my eyes and once again pleaded with the Lord to rescue us.
Although I didn't say it out loud, the thought seemed to be swirling through my brain, "Don't you care?"
To be honest, I would never have spoken it out because I really did know that our Heavenly Father most definitely does care about us, His children. However, what we know in our minds doesn't always match what we think we know in our hearts - and this was one of those times.
As I went through the normal motions of that school day morning, I made a point of constantly turning my thoughts back to the truth of God's Word. Even so, honesty compels me to admit that it was a fairly erratic battle.
Yet, as this war raged within, there came a gentle whisper of the Spirit, softly and simply saying to my soul, "Trust me."
There was no great dissertation on how and why I should do that, nor was there any explanation as to where and when my trust would be rewarded. Yet, those simple words pulled me back into line and, along with His Word, gave me something to cling to.
Then, while I was clinging to that hope, the Lord sent us a "life preserver" through the prayers of a friend.
It was during Steve's original illness that God had first placed a burden for our family on Robyn's heart. If that had happened a year or so ago, it wouldn't have been exceptional as our two families had basically lived in each other's pockets for a very long time. However, with our change of church, we'd drifted in different directions and that constant contact had slipped into very irregular, but pleasant, moments of catching up.
As a woman with a strong intercessory gift, Robyn knew that we were in her thoughts and prayers for a reason. Yet, even knowing this, she'd hesitated to call and, instead, had just continued to faithfully pray. It wasn't until the week before Steve headed back to work that the need to know what was wrong finally became stronger than her need to avoid looking silly. Of course, when she did make that telephone call, she very quickly discovered that we'd been through two very difficult months.
So, with the knowledge that the burden she'd had for us during that time had, indeed, been God-given, she was troubled when the Lord brought us back into her prayers just a few weeks later.
This time, however, Robyn only hesitated two days before calling.
As soon as I explained to my friend that Steve was once again ill, Rob assured me of her prayers and said that she'd felt the need to intercede again at the start of the week - which was right at the time when Steve began getting sick.
After a relatively short conversation, I hung up the receiver and thanked God. Right there and then I knew that the battle had been won, even though it would still need to be played out to its conclusion.
Right there and then the head knowledge of God's love once again moved comfortably and peacefully into my heart - where it belonged. After all, why would the Lord prompt someone to pray if He had no intention of answering?
As that wonderful revelation flooded my being, the Spirit brought to mind one powerful scripture that washed me (safe in my new "life preserver") closer to the shore. It was truth across the millennia, straight from King David's heart, who wrote:
There will be many times, both now and in the future, when we will feel either out of our depth or swamped by the anxieties of life. Quite often we'll respond to these trials by standing in faith; confidently knowing that God will rescue us in His perfect time. However, many of us, if we are being honest, will admit that there will also be times when we will probably find ourselves asking, "Lord, don't you care?"
That's when we really need to remember that He not only cares enough to be working everything together for our good, but that even when we can't "see" Him, He's always right there. In fact, we need to acknowledge that it's only because the Lord is holding us up that we're able to keep our head above water at all!
Ultimately, we have to do as the Spirit whispered to my soul and simply trust Him.
Then, when everything is in place, we can know without question that the One who loves us with an everlasting love and cares for us so completely, will launch a mighty, miraculous mayday rescue, to bring us safely back onto dry land.
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