When You are the Answer to Someone’s Prayer

One of the surprising and satisfying things when you obey God is finding out that you have obeyed by faith (that is without knowing why you were doing this) and the results are beyond what you imagined.

Several decades ago I was washing my laundry at a local self-serve machine.  It was a dull, boring Saturday, a place I had never used before. Only one woman and her teenage son were in the laundromat. He was acting strangely; she was casting ugly glances at him and sharp threats. He sat nervously and silently in a chair most of the time.

I felt the scene was unnatural. As a person who was badly abused as a child I recognized that his behavior as a teenager was abnormal. Boys especially are all over the place, eating snax, reading magazines, bouncing balls outside on the pavement – but none of that. He never smiled; she never smiled. For a moment I saw myself being controlled in every public situation by a hostile parent.  So I wrote down the license plate of the little hatchback out front.

When  arrived home I wrote a letter to the Department of Social Services local office, Child Protective Agency.  I knew someone there but I had not seen her for literally years.  I told her I suspected this boy was abused; it made me uncomfortable.  I mailed the letter but including the license plate.  I had never seen this woman or her son, nor did I ever again. I thought nothing about it.

Several years passed and I was attending a Chamber of Commerce event when  I spotted my old acquaintance.  I asked her about my now long forgotten letter. Her answer startled me.

She said, “We removed the boy from the home and gave custody to the father.  The mother was livid thinking her Ex had promoted this whole thing. Your letter confirmed what the father had been telling me. But we could tell her it was a total stranger.”

I thought to myself how happy I was they had not pitched out my letter as just a nosy old grandmother.  But even more importantly this father as well as the son had wanted a new custody arrangement but could not catch the mother in the act.  My letter did the job.  I could never be identified by any of the participants.  The prayers of one very unhappy child and his father had been answered simply because I did what I believed to be right. God had stepped in.

That is how God uses obedience. He is not obligated to tell us why we do what we do. After all, faith is NOT knowing; obedience is doing anyway when you don’t have a clear reason.

God wants more than anything for us to be coworkers with him in the reformation of a good and happy world.  The old song, Trust and Obey, means so much more when you see obedience not as a test, but as a life’s work.

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