You might remember a prayer request that I shared last spring for my sister-in-law, Joyce, who had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Today I am sharing a beautiful Thanksgiving story of how God met her and my brother this fall in a very special way.
(Photo taken in 2015 at my brother and sister-in-law’s home.)
Several years ago, an elderly woman planted a garden in her back yard. She tended the small area with such care, dreaming up beauty with a pond and even a trickling waterfall. She called the space her “Garden of Prayer” and met with her Lord there for sweet times of communion with Him.
Prayer was such an important part of her days. When her car stalled on the way to one of her church’s prayer meetings, her heart sank. She longed to meet with her brothers and sisters to lift their needs up to Jesus. How would that happen now? But suddenly there was a tap on her window, and a young woman was asking her if she needed help.
OH YES! “Could you just take me to my prayer meeting? I know that my car can be taken care of, and towed to the repair shop later. But I don’t want to miss my gathering today.” So the young woman gladly drove her the short distance to where the prayer meeting was scheduled.
The years passed by and the woman knew that she needed to put her home up for sale. But would her garden be tended with the same care? Would anyone even care for her precious garden of prayer?
Across town in a neighboring suburb, a retired pastor and his wife were struggling to take care of their home. The yard was too large and the steps down to the basement were too many as cancer loomed for his wife. Even his own heart-disease made the tasks feel impossible. They thanked God for their children and grandchildren who helped when they could. But the day finally came when they knew they needed to find a new, smaller home.
They prayed about finding a home closer to their son and daughter-in-law, and amazingly, a home was listed for sale just down the street from them! The retired pastor and his wife walked into the house and felt a blessing around them. She saw such beautiful possibility in the single level smaller home. He saw a small pond with a trickling waterfall that would be perfect to bring over his fish from his own larger garden pond. He could not describe the peace he felt in that garden, except to know that this was the place they were meant to buy.
Yes, the young woman who helped that elderly lady was the daughter-in-law of the retired pastor, and that garden of prayer was the place of peace that the pastor had taken such joy in. But the timing of the selling and the buying was also planned as only God could have arranged. The pastor’s wife finished her last round of chemo on the very week that they moved into the new home.
Of course, you have probably guessed that the pastor and his wife are my brother and sister-in-law that you have been praying for. But God did not miss one detail in this story for them.
After the pastor’s family helped him to move over everything from the old house and garden into the new home, he found a fish tank to house his fish over the coming cold months of winter. He felt a nudge to go back for one last check over his old garden, and one last check of his fish pond. Amazingly, one lonely fish had been missed in the previous day’s gathering. “Smoke” the little fish with his white saddle on his underbelly was rescued and given a special new tank with a friend for the winter.
You might think that one little fish is too small to count. But if our Father in Heaven sees when one little sparrow falls, then no detail will be overlooked by Him.
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7 NIV
My brother’s wife is having her surgery to remove the tumor this very week, on November 22. Would you join me in praying for her full healing?
I would love to pray with you for those details that you feel have been overlooked in your own story. God sees every moment of our days. He will never miss one need that we carry. And His gifts are planned so perfectly for each one of us.
Dear Father in Heaven,
Thank You for sending Your own dear Son for us so that we might live with You forever. Oh, Lord, what a joy that will be, when we are finally face-to-face with You. But for now, our hearts are filled with longings in these days that feel so hard. There are times when we feel forgotten, when it seems that our hearts are bearing loads that no one else even sees. Thank You that not one longing is overlooked by You. Thank You that not one burden is forgotten by You. Help us to cling to You when those longings and burdens get too heavy. We look to YOU for the help and the healing that we need. Only You can bring the fullness that our hearts truly desire. We love You, our Lord and Savior.
In the name of Jesus, we pray,
++++And one small correction that my brother just noted: while he was sad about leaving his old pond, this new pond is actually bigger than the last one! God truly sees every detail!++++
A GIFT FOR YOU
And I am so very blessed to offer to you, all my readers, a gift for this coming Christmas Season. Two years ago, my friend Ifeoma Samuel invited me to join her in writing a special month-long celebration of Christmas Family Devotions. And this year, she has so graciously compiled them into a beautiful book for download. You will find 25 short Devotions that are easy to read with your family during Advent. There are enriching activities that you and your family can join in with, helping to bring the joy and meaning of this Season more clearly into your lives.
HE CAME TO US!
Christmas is God’s gift of grace to us. And I pray that the gift of this e-book would be another way to share in that grace together. I will be offering this book here, available for free download to you my readers during the months of November and December. I am so grateful for each one of you.
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