Tuesday, January 26, 2010
He Knows What We Need!
God reminded me recently of my first answered prayer. Now understand this - it was not the first, or the last time I prayed, but it was the first time that I KNEW that God had answered my desperate cry with the answer I needed...but not necessarily what I wanted. (I am smiling as I write this)
This was in the Spring of 1989.
I was a new Christian. I knew that there were changes in me and that something extraordinary had occurred the night I said yes to Jesus. I had no doubt that God was real and that Jesus had sacrificed Himself for me, a sinner. What I had doubts about was did He actually hear ME when I prayed? I just did not know.
Doug and I had two little ones in diapers, and another who was growing faster than we could afford new shoes and all 3 kids were sick with chicken pox. We had a car that had blown a head gasket and had bald tires, and bills that kept on coming in. In other words, life - complete with all of it's surprises and things that get thrown at you and are normal.
I did what any desperate wife low on finances and little common sense would do - I started entering "free" sweepstakes. You know the ones I'm talking about..."Send in the proof of purchase to enter for a vacation", "Write WINNER on a card and enter to win a new car", and of course everyone's favorite, "The Publisher Clearing House Sweepstakes". If these were the only ones, I would not be writing this; I entered 100's of these.
Okay, so I am being very transparent as to my desperation mindset. I know that no one else could ever have done anything as silly. Right?
After months of not hearing anything, I was pretty depressed. In fact so much so, my co-workers were really worried. I didn't smile, I cried all the time, and spoke to no one. I was low.
One day as I drove down the road, I yelled out to God (yes, yelled) and said, "God, if you can hear me, please, please let me win just one of these sweepstakes. I am desperate and nothing I am doing is working. If you let me win just ONE, I will never enter another sweepstakes again." (Gasp, yes, I made a deal with God.)
Days went by. Nothing. No answer for 3 days.
On the forth morning I came home from work and sitting on my doorstep was a large box from UPS. I dragged it into my foyer and sat down on the floor.
I looked at it and noticed that it was filled to the top with small boxes and that the very top box had my name and address. All the other boxes, 49 of them, had other peoples names and addresses. I opened the box addressed to me and dumped out the contents. Inside was a bag of Dum-Dum Lollipops and a letter. This is what I read:
Dear Mrs Milton:
Congratulations! You are a Third Place Winner in the Dum-Dum Lollipop Sweepstakes. We appreciate your entry and hope that you and your family enjoy this special bag with new flavors. Again, thank you for your entry and Congratulations.
Now I don't know about you, but if I had not been sitting on the floor I would have fallen. I started laughing. Then I started snorting and laughing. I had tears rolling down my cheeks, I was holding my sides I was laughing so hard. I rolled around on the floor and laughed some more. Then I thought about what Doug would say if he could see me and I laughed even harder. I truly do not know how long I laughed, but once I stopped I noticed something. I didn't "hurt" inside anymore.
I realized in that moment that God had answered my desperate prayer and given me what I "Needed" - not what I "Wanted". I thanked Him for answering my prayer according to His wisdom. I knew that what I had needed more than anything else was laughter.
I learned that day how truly I am blessed despite my circumstances. Every once in a while when I get a bit focused on the storms around me, God reminds me of that Sweepstakes I once won. That's all I need.
As for the rest of the box, I did get them back to the UPS and they delivered them to everyone else who had won. I wonder if they giggled when they opened their boxes.
Oh, and I never have entered another sweepstakes.
P.S. The kids grew up, they always had shoes that fit on their feet, a wonderful person fixed our engine for just the cost of parts and someone else gave us tires. Bills still come and are payed. God provided then and now - He always does.