I’ve had a hard time sitting down to write this week. I feel distracted, jittery, time-crunched and….sad. One friend said she knew it was bad when I texted her that I didn’t feel like talking but I was fine, just sad. Apparently I had never used the “s” word with her. Frankly, I knew it was bad when my husband showed up after work last week with flowers. Now, my husband is the BEST. He is my encourager, cheerleader and hands down the best hugger around. But the number of times he has brought me flowers? I could count them on one hand and still have some fingers leftover. It’s just not his jam. (For the record, Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs are his jam.)
I had some big losses last week — three in the span of seven days to be exact. Death is brutal, isn’t it? I know I am not alone in my grief, and I also know many of you have endured pain I can only imagine. My heart breaks for you.
But in the midst of it all this past week, I saw the most beautiful signs of God at work; what one seminary friend calls “God-sightings.” God-sightings are everywhere. Some of us see God in the spring green of the Aspen buds just beginning to poke out of their winter snooze. Some see God in the kindness of friends. Some in the way the dawn light dresses the very tips of the mountain peaks. Some in a baby who finally sleeps through the night (can I get an Amen?). For me, the God-sightings last week were specific and speedy answers to prayer.
If you’re anything like me (and I’m betting I’m not alone) you might find yourself saying to someone who is hurting, “I’ll pray for you.” I am always sincere in the moment and I would love to say I always remember but occasionally I find myself late into the night or the next day offering up an embarrassing, “God, you know there are people I’m supposed to be praying for. I’ve forgotten who but you never do. Please be with whoever it is that needs you.” I’m sure God has my back.
Last week I couldn’t afford to be so casual. So I found myself paying close attention to prayer because I was acutely aware of the pain in people’s lives. Three times I said, “I’ll pray for you,” but this time I dropped everything to do so. And every single time God proved to be right on the other side of the door. Each time I dropped everything to pray — and I mean fervent and specific prayer — the answer was so obvious, so glorious and so helpful to the people involved, I simply couldn’t pass it off as anything but God’s loving presence in our lives. My new mantra is “Stop, drop and pray.”
At some point this dark week someone told me they envied my faith. I remarked that it comes with practice. The more we seek, the more we see, the more our faith grows. God-sightings are there for us if only we acknowledge them as they gift they are. Not coincidence, not luck, not right-place-right-time. But the grace of God at work in our lives, walking alongside us, and dropping everything to hear our inmost pleas.
It was a difficult week, friends. But one thing I know for certain is that God was present and hard at work.