"Pray continually, ..." 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV)
My due date was circled in ink, but babies are famous for ignoring calendars. Two weeks after that long-anticipated day came and went, I wondered if our son would ever make his grand entrance into the world.
Naturally, my main concern was delivering a healthy baby, though I was a teensy bit worried about handling my part. Okay, more than a teensy.
On that hot August evening, when my husband, Bill, and I drove off to the hospital, we were certain our endless wait was over.
Not quite. I labored in vain. And prayed nonstop.
After 22 hours, I was hungry, exhausted and scared. Plans for a C-section were put in motion, beginning with moving me from my comfy hospital bed onto a narrow gurney with wheels. Not a big deal unless you're nine and a half months pregnant.
The two young orderlies, with wary expressions, did not inspire confidence. A headline flitted through my addled mind: Mother Delivers Bouncing Baby Boy While Bouncing.
I've prayed some unusual prayers in my lifetime, but Please don't let them drop me! was a new one. Even thinking those words felt foolish, but I silently prayed them nonetheless, desperate for a safe landing.
Please, Lord. Help me be brave. And help them be strong. Please?
A moment later, into my hospital room strolled an angel in blue: Don, the nurse anesthetist. Built like an oversized teddy bear swathed in scrubs, he stood next to my bed, his round face beaming. "Are you ready?"
I gulped. Here we go. The dreaded mid-air move.
After assessing the situation, Don waved away the two nervous orderlies and blithely announced, "I'll take care of Mrs. Higgs."
I'd never in my adult life been carried anywhere. Even Bill hadn't swept me over the threshold of our honeymoon suite. We'd just held hands and jumped. Now I was going to allow a complete stranger to do what seemed impossible.
Don leaned closer. "Can you put your hands around my neck?"
I could and did, though they were clammy and trembling with fatigue. Would the Lord answer my prayer, or was it time to set the type for that banner headline?
As if I weighed nothing more than a pillow, the big man with a big heart lifted me off the bed, swung me through the air, and gently placed me on the gurney without so much as a grunt.
"Nothing to it," he assured me.
Maybe not for Don. Clearly not for God. He'd sent His best — a Paul Bunyan of a guy, whose heart belonged entirely to Him.
Four hours later, Don moved me again, this time into a recovery bed. He tucked a precious bundle into my arms and whispered, "Look what a gift God has given you this night."
Don didn't know that the name we'd chosen for our son meant "gift of God." But the Lord knew.
His Word tells us, "A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world" (John 16:21, NIV).
So right. My pain was gone, my prayers were answered, and my joy was over the moon. God had provided safe transport in the arms of His willing servant, and He really came through on my prayers for a healthy baby — Matthew weighed 11 pounds, 12-1/2 ounces. Definitely healthy.
Knowing the Lord hears every request, big or small, normal or off-the-wall, our job is clear. Pray continually. Wait expectantly. Trust fearlessly.
Lord, You are beyond faithful. Even before we put our prayers into words, You know what we need and are working on our behalf. Thank You for always listening and always loving. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY: Psalm 5:2, "Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray." (NIV)
Mark 11:24, "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." (NIV)
Psalm 66:20, "Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!" (NIV)
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