It always brings great joy to receive word from moms of children who’ve come to the age of accountability and have put on the Lord in baptism, but especially I rejoice when it is some child for whom I’ve prayed. Maybe he had been sick and I had prayed for his recovery. Maybe she had faced a particular challenge from the devil and I had prayed that the devil would not win. Sometimes a child had been discouraged by those who should have been encouraging. I believe that the devil just tries so hard to win our children and I am often in prayer for them. I am elated when they make decisions for the Lord. Sometimes, when moms are rejoicing with me about children being saved, they will include a picture of the child fresh from the waters of baptism or even a video of the immersion itself.
This last week I rejoiced while watching via facebook as my young friend Sinai made the great confession and was baptized. I’ve known her for a couple of years now and I am honored to be her friend. She is a young model who has appeared in some pretty cool magazine layouts. She is a big help to Mom with a younger brother and a set of twins. Best of all, she is a child of the King now. She is a part of the royal priesthood and the holy nation.
The rest of the story is this: Having left my “best” Bible in Pennsylvania last week, I was forced to go back to the shelf and retrieve an old worn-out Dickson to bring with me to Seattle this weekend. As I settled into my seat and began using the airplane study time, I loved looking over the worn pages, seeing old notes and mini-outlines from the years 2005-2011–the years I had carried that Dickson with me to many states and several countries. I remembered things from those trips; faces and events, lessons and fellowship times. I fingered the over-worn pages that had come loose from the binding, namely the Sermon on the Mount and Proverbs 5-7. Tucked in the pages was an old bulletin from West Huntsville, some calling cards inviting folks to our old location, and in one opening was a bulletin from a congregation in DC where I had spoken early in 2011. I remember the weekend. It was bitterly cold in Washington. I remember wistfully looking out an upper story hotel window upon arriving there, watching the snow falling on our capitol and thinking of my father whose ICU bedside I had left to travel to this city. I remember feeling alone and road-weary. I was knocking on the door of my own pity party…
UNTIL I went to the house of the Lord. Sisters were welcoming. There were hugs and kisses all around. The little room where we met was warm and the singing was heartfelt. The studies were well-received and the questions they had for me were deeply spiritual in nature. God knew that I needed them at this moment in my life. The encouragement was vital to my emotional well-being at a time when I was getting precious little sleep and constantly fearing the worst. I’m looking at that old bulletin and, even now, being encouraged by the words, “Sis. Cindy Colley’s father is in ICU. Pray that she may be strengthened during this difficult time.” I was. I am constantly amazed by the fortitude that is in the family of God.
And this prayer request was also in that old bulletin from sweet Sinai:
“Please help me and my dad to help mommy when she is sick from the babies. Pray for me to make better decisions so I can be baptized. Pray we get a new car.”
What a sweet and honest spirit. It reminds me that Jesus said “Suffer the little children to come to me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Sinai was, all at once, honest about her shortcomings, brave to ask for help, looking to her spiritual future and concerned about their material needs. I have an idea that, in the past couple of years, one of the petitions in her prayer has grown in significance and she has come to realize the truth of Matthew 6:33. This last week, she took care of the one thing that takes care of all the others.
Sinai, if you are reading, remember that you have just made a commitment that reaches in effect, beyond this lifetime. All of your decisions throughout your days–at home with your mom and dad, serving the great Georgia Avenue church, at your camps and in your travels–all of them are rooted in this one decision. That makes all the decisions lots easier to make for the rest of your life. Best of all, you are washed in the blood. You will never have to feel guilty about anything else in your entire lifetime, so long as you walk in His light. I know that you will. It’s a blessed journey and your life will be so full when you are doing His will. Know that I am a phone call or an email away if I can help you live for Jesus! And one day, THE day, we will find each other around His throne and we will never have to worry again about sickness, making good decisions, or worn-out cars!
I don’t know if you helped your mom when she was sick with the babies. I know they came into this world beautiful and healthy! I don’t know if you got a new car. But I know that He has and is taking care of your needs. I know that he answered the prayer of the sisters there in my behalf, too. I am blessed to be able to travel back to my father’s side again this very week…only he is not in a bed in ICU. This Tuesday when I go to visit him, he will attend his weekly men’s Bible class, where I will deliver a surprise birthday cake, for his 91st birthday. He will tell me about the “Riders in the Sky” concert that the rest of his kids and grandkids attended with him this weekend in Decatur, Alabama. We will go to Betty’s Barbecue for lunch. I will take him to his regular rheumatologist appointment. We will come home and he will feed the squirrels that come up to his patio door and wait for him to hand them slices of loaf bread–loaf bread that he buys in quantities large enough to run a sandwich shop. We will talk about that game that Alabama is winning (yes, I’m a believer!) right now as I am flying home. In short, Lord willing, we will have a great day together. More prayers answered. Sometimes…NO, all of the time, His goodness is overwhelming. May He help us to live in gratitude and devotion.