The room was quiet. Her tiny, frail body lay somewhat lifeless under a pile of white blankets raising slightly with the rhythm of each breath. Two generations sat and waited for her to wake. Her eighty something year old body was tired so they let her rest. Soon she began speaking. Unable to see her face, it was assumed she was dreaming until her words became clear. She was speaking to her dear friend, the love of her life – she called Him Jesus. She spoke as if He was sitting with her, stroking her thin, wiry hair and holding her hand. Eventually, she turned to face her grandchildren. Upon opening her eyes and realizing her company’s presence, she sweetly smiled.
“Oh honey, don’t cry for me,” she said quietly to my niece who sat with tears falling slowly down her cheeks. “I’ve waited a long time for this. I’ve told everyone how good God is and I know He’s pleased with me. It’s time for me to go home.”
She told the truth. Everyone she met knew how much she loved the Lord. She lived a long life that wasn’t easy. She lost a child, outlived her husband and spent many years on dialysis because of failing kidneys. Yet she always had a smile on her face and welcomed any opportunity to tell anyone listening the good news of the gospel.
Until I met her, I had never seen a love story with Jesus like hers – such peace and to be able to state without any doubt “He’s pleased with me.” I knew I didn’t have what she had, but I wanted to get it.
I began praying every morning for God to speak to me and let me know He would use me. I asked for the relationship I witnessed in her example. I wanted to hold deep, passionate conversations with God. Knowing He speaks through His word, I followed each prayer with intense reading of the scripture. In the evenings, I read books by Christian authors designed to cultivate a deeper relationship with Christ. I listened to nothing but Christian music or sermons from well-known pastors. I watched little television, but what I did watch was found by surfing the God channels. I wanted to soak it all in and begged God to somehow use something, anything, I was learning as a way to communicate with me.
Several weeks I followed this routine. Each week returned the same response from God.
One evening, feeling like I could do no more, I stood in the kitchen over a sink full of dirty dishes. As the soapy water began to fill the sink, tears swelled in my eyes. I’ve gotten my answer from God, I thought as I began washing each dish. He won’t use me. I blew my chance years ago, and He’s done with me. My heart is no longer good enough.
As the tears flowed down my face, I felt a tug on my pant leg. Wiping my eyes, I turned to see my three year old daughter smiling up at me.
“Mommy, let me listen to your heart,” she said holding up her Doc McStuffin’s stethoscope. I dried my hands and bent down. She placed the plastic piece on my chest and closed her eyes. For a few moments she innocently stood with a sweet smile on her face while she listened.
“What’s it sound like?” I asked.
“Golden,” she whispered. With that she opened her eyes and looked into mine keeping the smile on her face before walking away.
Golden. The tears flowed again as I realized He wasn’t silent at all. I simply needed to listen.
Luke chapter 18 tells us of an unrighteous ruler who had no respect for anyone, yet he finally responded to the persistent pleas of a widow. If an unrighteous man, who cares for no one but himself will respond to the persistence of a widow, how much more eagerly will our righteous, merciful Father respond to His children?
We are told to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), but it’s easy to become discouraged when God is silent after weeks, months or even years of prayer. I pray if you are in a period of God’s silence, you will continue to seek Him and hold fast to scripture promising God won’t give up on you (Philippians 1:6). I look back at the time I felt He was ignoring my request. I pleaded to hear His voice and expected something grand ringing in my ears. After all, Psalm 29 says the voice of the Lord is powerful. The voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars.
This time, however, the voice of the Lord was the whisper of a tiny little girl with blond hair, hazel eyes and a Doc McStuffin stethoscope.