– Monday Muse –
Dear One, Ron and I live a few miles west of Traverse City. To get home from town, we must take one of three hills. On some wintry days, all three of the hills can be treacherous. Such was the case years ago when I was in the van on my way home with all five of our children. The van was never very good on slippery roads, so once again, I was nervous. Before choosing my route, I reviewed the situation by considering the amount of snow fall, the temperature, the traffic, and then decided on what I thought would be the best of my three bad choices.
As I headed up the long ascent of North Long Lake Road, I paced myself, and tried to stay far enough from the car in front of me without loosing traction and forward movement. But as hard as I tried, I could not keep the van on the road. It slowly slid off the right side of the road. There were no cell phones in those days. Thankfully, we were close to a house which had lights glowing. From there I would call my husband.
I knocked, and a man opened the door. Behind him, I could see his family seated in the living room. I asked to use the phone, and the man said, “No, you can’t,” muttered a few negative words about drivers, and soundly shut the door.
I could not believe my eyes or my ears. I was shocked and in utter disbelief. On my way down his slippery driveway, I realized that the man was sick and tired of stranded drivers, like me, knocking on his door, day and night, all winter long, and that refusing aid was the man’s way of getting us back for disturbing him.
Nearly every Sunday, when we drove to church, we took that same road. Every now and then when we passed that house, I thought of the man, and still found the scene disturbing. That was until one day when I realized that the story was worse than it had first appeared. For it came to me that there were two not-so-good Samaritans at that closed door, one on each side of it. For neither cared for the other. I never once had sympathized with the man; I had never once prayed for him. All those times I passed his house, I never concerned myself over a cold heart that desperately needed to experience the love of Christ. How could that be? I should have begun to pray for the man that very day.
I recently came across this quote from Hudson Taylor, a missionary to China, “To move man, through God, by prayer alone.” It was Taylor’s motto and I have made it mine. For through prayer I have seen such truth play out again and again…even for people I hardly know. If you have never read Praying for Strangers by River Jordan, I think most would find it interesting, informative, and delightful. I met River when she spoke at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. When God first asked her to pray for certain strangers He pointed out to her, she refused. Eventually, she was not only asked to pray for them, but was guided to tell them that she had prayed for them. Oh, the interesting ways God used her prayers!
“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions
and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men…” I Timothy 2:1
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