Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Before they call, I will answer.

Isaiah 65:24
"Before they call, I will answer"

This story was written by a doctor who worked in South Africa.

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in
spite of all we could do, she died leaving us with a tiny premature baby
and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the
baby alive, as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an
We also had no special feeding facilities. Although we lived on the
equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student
midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool
that the baby would be wrapped in.

Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came
back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had
burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates). "And it is our
last hot water bottle!" she exclaimed. As in the West, it is no good
crying over spilled milk so in Central Africa it might be considered no
good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and
there are no drugstores down forest pathways.

"All right," I said, "put the baby as near the fire as you safely can,
and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts.
Your job is to keep the baby warm."

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any
of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the
youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them
about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby
warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could
so easily die if it got chills.
I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother
had died.

During prayer time, one ten-year old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual
blunt conciseness of our African children. "Please, God" she prayed,
"send us a water bottle. It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby
will be dead, so please send it this afternoon."

While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, "And
while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little
girl so she'll know You really love her?"

As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I
honestly say, "Amen"? I just did not believe that God could do this.
Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything, the Bible says so. But there
are limits, aren't there? The only way God could answer this particular
prayer would be by sending me a parcel from homeland. I had been in
Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever
received a parcel from home.
Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water
I lived on the equator! Halfway through the afternoon, while I was
teaching in the nurses' training school, a message was sent that there
was a car at my front door.

By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there, on the
veranda, was a large twenty-two pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my
eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage
Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We
folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was

Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard
box. From the top, I lifted out brightly colored, knitted jerseys.
Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages
for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then
came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas - that would make a batch of
buns for the weekend Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt
the.....could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out - yes, a
brand-new, rubber hot water bottle. I cried. I had not asked God to
send it; I had not truly believed that He could. Ruth was in the front
row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, "If God has sent
the bottle, He must have sent the dolly too!"

Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small,
beautifully dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted!

Looking up at me, she asked: "Can I go over with you and give this
dolly to that little girl, so she'll know that Jesus really loves her?"

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months. Packed up by my
former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God's
prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of
the girls had put in a dolly for an African child - five month s
before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it
"that afternoon."

"Before they call, I will answer" (Isaiah 65:24) This awesome prayer
takes less than a minute. When you receive this, say the prayer, that's
all you have to do. No strings attached. Just send it on to whomever
you want - but do send it on. Prayer is one of the best free gifts we
There is no cost but a lot of rewards.

Let's continue praying for one another Father, I ask you to bless my
friends reading this right now. I am asking You to minister to their
spirit at this very moment. Where there is pain, give them Your peace
and mercy.
Where there is self doubting, release a renewed confidence to work
through them. Where there is spiritual stagnation, I ask You to renew
them by revealing Your nearness, and by drawing them into greater
intimacy with You. Where there is fear, reveal Your love, and release
to them Your courage.
Bless their finances, give them greater vision, and raise up leaders
and friends to support and encourage them. Give each of them discernment
to recognize the evil forces around them, and reveal to them the power
they have in You to defeat it. I ask you to do these things in Jesus'

Passing this on to anyone you consider a friend will bless you
Passing this on to one not considered a friend is something Christ
would do.

"Do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps if you're not willing to
move your feet.

God Bless !!

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