For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are attentive to their prayer (1 Peter 3:12)
When we have a slight accident or when something unexpectedly and suddenly happens that we cannot do anything about, we naturally become exasperated and helpless.
A good example of such a situation is a time when we unknowingly drop a small expensive item of jewelry, as we were walking to the shopping center, and then only to realize our loss some moments afterwards. This happened to us a fortnight ago when I drove my wife to the shopping center.
She was adamant that she still had the pendant on her when we walked from the car park but when we got to the entrance of the super market she suddenly realized that it had fallen off from the chain.
The two of us anxiously traced through our steps, being very cautious just in case we trample on the pendant! Being shortsighted, I had to stoop low and move my head slowly from side to side. At the same time, I was not aware or had the slightest concern for several people nearby looking quizzically at what I was doing! I sometimes hope that my wife knew at that split second when it fell off (then exclaimed loudly!) so that then I would just have to look only at a small area around her instead of scouring through this vast unknown!
Also, the pendant is so dainty that it could have silently fallen away when it came off the hook without giving us the slightest alarm. I could predict that it could be anywhere between the car and the entrance which measures at least 100 meters in distance! It could also have fallen into a small grassy patch at the edge of the road (God forbid!) or directly onto the gravel road. Whichever the case may be, chances are we have lost the pendant for good.
What do you do when you are totally helpless? What does a child does when he or she is frightened and helpless? The child spontaneously yells out loudly for daddy or mummy! Note that in an uncontrollable and exasperating situation such as this when one would just about to give up in desperation, how people would gasp “Oh God!” (or better still) “Oh help me God!” This is analogous to the child’s cry to his/ her parents for help. Remember, not every one of us believes in God, yet in desperation, our inner self – the real us – would cry out to God for intervention!
After we walked the route from the car park to the shopping center gate not less than a dozen times looking for the lost pendant unsuccessfully, we came near to the brink of giving up. We needed a miracle so I stopped and prayed! “Help us Father God because we are truly powerless; please help us”. Then Lo and behold, on our final lap back to the car, I spotted a passing flash of sunlight coming from some loose gravel stones as we passed it. As I stopped to inspect closely, I couldn’t believe I have found the pendant! It was propped up on its edge among the loose pebbles and it was well camouflaged if not for its telling glitter. There was an exclamation of joy and relief when I picked the pendant up and brought it back to the elated owner. Thank you Lord, and indeed You have heard and answered my prayer even as soon as it left my lips!
And this dilemma happened to us again and too soon! This time, we were walking with throngs of people also patronizing the stalls of a Sunday Market. We have finished our shopping for fresh fruit and vegetables and were on our way home.
Again my wife gave me that same worried look when she was putting away her reading glasses! There was only one ‘arm’ remaining on the spectacles and the other must have fallen off! She said that it must have dropped off near the cashier of the last shop we visited, as this was where she had put away her glasses after she had paid the shopkeeper.
We hurried back to the fruit shop and found out that the spectacle ‘arm’ was not there. Not again! I know of the hordes of people moving freely near the shops and chances are they could have walked on it and broke it! We were again facing another frustrating and exasperating situation.
What did I do when we were looking in vain for the lost pendant only last week? Again I humbly prayed to God to intervene. Again, lo and behold, not long afterwards, we saw the spectacle arm hidden beside a tent post near the shop! I picked it up and danced around to the surprise of the people near us. Did he find a jar of gold coins or what, they murmured to one another? Oh, I contended silently that this was even much better than finding gold! It concerned the response of a benevolent God. It involved the blessing of a gracious God to His trusting and faithful servant. If we actually found what we lost just once, we can say that our good luck was all by chance.
Many people can tell us that they have experienced mishaps of accidently losing especially small and precious belongings and least of all, thought about praying for them to be found and yet they finally found them! They dismiss the whole thing to be a chance of good fortune. Yes, maybe just once. But this good fortune cannot have happened twice in a short succession. The statistician would calculate your chances of finding the two items that you have lost over a short week and tell you that it is 1 chance in 3 million!
But we believe that what happened to us on the two occasions did not occur by chance. Firstly, we lost the pendant and then after trying tediously to find it ourselves, we mentally gave up and prayed to God for help. Secondly, we accidentally dropped the arm of the spectacles because its side screw became loose. This time, when we realized that finding was pretty slim, we did not even attempt to start looking for it but instead we prayed to God for help. And he blessed us for believing in Him again!
How much more our loving God wants to bless us whenever we experience situations such as these and we openly confess helplessness and express our complete dependence on His providence. In fact I firmly believe that He desire us his loving children, not only to call upon Him in times of desperation and need, but to live our lives daily in full dependence on Him. We are to yield to Him all aspects of our doings and activities. He has shown in His word that He wants us to adopt the role of innocent children especially when we experience distressful and unavoidable happenings. He wants us to confess that we are not able without Him and to cry loudly to Him for help no matter how trivial the matter may be.
In Romans 12:12 His word calls us to always be habitual in prayer under all circumstances.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.
Even as I was typing my essay, a third mishap happened to me! I had retrieved my old briefcase and filled it with note pads, pens and texts in preparation for my Bible classes for next week. When I closed it, I realized that I couldn’t open it because I had somehow accidentally shifted the set code numbers of the lock when I shut it and now I cannot remember the code numbers to open it again! My mind was a total blank. I tried dialing 0-0-0 (which I often used) but no way. I called my wife to see if she remembered. She said we should pray! Then somehow she said to try 1-8-6. I asked why she picked that number, as it did not ring a bell to me. Somehow, I felt that I have seen 1-8-6 (don’t ask me why) so I dialed 186 and squeezed the lock buttons to open the briefcase. Clicked, the hinges flipped up – it worked! Thank you (again) mighty God!
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