Rain soaked her clothes as she wandered aimlessly down the dimly lighted sidewalk. The one or two strangers who hurriedly passed on their way to somewhere drier didn't notice that she was crying. Even if it wasn't raining, she doubted anyone would notice or even care.
Just an hour ago, Hope had left the doctor's office. The news was worse than she had feared. It was cancer. There was really nothing they could do but try chemotherapy and hope for the best. Doctor Sanchez said she might call on some of her friends from church. He had seen prayer work in the past.
Prayer. Even as she trod alone down the avenue, her mind went back just a week to a room in the back of the church house where she and her Ladies Prayer Group had tried just that. Sister Turner had said she wanted to know the results as soon as she found out, although she knew God was going to answer their prayers.
Somehow Hope found her way to Sister Turner's doorstep. One look at the bedraggled young lady and Sister Turner had her in a motherly embrace.
"I just don't understand. We prayed" sobbed Hope to the elderly lady. Her shoulders gave in as her voice broke into uncontrolled sobs.
"We asked God to help and to bless that it wouldn't be bad. How could he do this to me? He said He would never leave or forsake me. He said ask and I would receive. I believed He would take care of me. Why would He let me go through this? Why?"
Sister Turner waited until she was through and led her to the dining room where she put some coffee in front of the young lady. She needed something to take away the chill. "Sweetie? Can I give you a little advice that I've learned through the twenty or thirty years I've been around?" Hope smiled. Sister Turner had to be in her late seventies.
"Sometimes we ask God to bless and expect him to do it according to our standards. We really don't need to instruct God on how to perform His miracles. If He left it up to us, it wouldn't be as grand, now would it?" Hope managed to shake her head slightly. "But if we let God handle it His way, then we can get on about our business knowing that He has our best interest in mind. Now let's just take a moment to thank God for making this here miracle that He's gonna perform just a mite bigger than we expected."
Hope returned home with a slight spring in her step. The rain had stopped and she could see a few stars blinking down. It seemed fitting.
I could have finished this story with a miracle ending, but if God is right, what does it matter how it ends? Hope left and hope returned.
Charles Lee is a Baptist minister currently working in the Denham Springs, LA area. He is married to his beautiful wife of fourteen years and they have four incredibly beautiful and intelligent children. Charles can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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