Yesterday was one of those Murphy's Law days. I should have expected it, I suppose, when I awoke to some not-so-good news about something we were hoping would be the opposite. (Nothing serious, but definitely life-redirecting for hubby and me.) One of those things you ponder a lot, after you get over the realization that life as you expected it to be will now be headed in a different direction. (This is not at all related to my writing, just to clarify.) Previous to that news, the night before, we got in the van near midnight to pick our youngest son up from the airport. He had spent a long weekend in L.A. visiting his brothers. We were running a little late, but at that time of night there is no traffic, so no worries. That is, until we backed out of the drive and the car stalled. Not a good sign. We were partway into the street and part on the driveway wondering how we would get it back in the drive so we could take the other car. Thankfully, after waiting a moment, the car started again and we pulled it into the drive. Something smelled like it was burning - also not a good sign - so we left it out of the garage, just in case. No sense risking a fire. So today we have to have it towed to a repair shop and wait to figure out the damages.
Being down to one car meant Randy had to cancel an appointment yesterday afternoon, because my appointment (at the same time) was harder to reschedule. When I got home, I set about to make dinner. One of my sons taught me a great way to make baked potatoes, so I popped them first in the microwave for five minutes and then brushed them with oil and kosher salt and put them in the oven for 30 minutes. Since these were big potatoes, I put them on speed bake. Then I prepared the tilapia, which I planned to broil after the potatoes were done.
But the potatoes weren't even close to done 30 minutes later. They were still as hard as they were when I took them out of the microwave. Then I noticed the oven was not warm. Hmm...Randy checked the circuit breaker. Nothing wrong there. And the stove top still worked. But both the broiler and the oven didn't. Repair number two is scheduled for tomorrow.
The rest of the night brought more difficult news that I can do nothing about except to pray for those affected by it. But then, prayer is really the best thing I can do, isn't it? Such situations lead me to petition the only One who can help. To "come boldly before the throne of grace, where we are promised help and mercy in time of need." We've definitely had some needy times lately - as do so have so many others that I know and love.
Sometimes my prayers are mingled with worry, and I know worry does little good, but sometimes worry is what leads me to pray more fervently. And as James tells us, "the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."
Now I don't consider myself righteous at all - except by the blood of Jesus. Because of Him, I can pray with confidence, boldly even, and beg my heavenly Father to intercede, to fulfill His promises, to give second and third chances to people who need it, to open the eyes of those blinded by their own sin, to soften my heart to love more than I ever have before.
And in praying, there is a sense of peace that comes. When Hannah prayed for a child (1 Samuel 1-2), she came away with her face "no longer downcast." She poured her heart to God out of her anguish and misery over a desire she could not shake, over a situation she absolutely could not control. And the result wasn't just that she got what she wanted (though God did answer her request for a son), but a sense of peace and inner joy. Those things don't come naturally. They are God given.
But they are also often won through great struggle. Peace comes after wars are fought and won on the battlefield, not just on the world stage in physical battles, but also in the spiritual battles we face every day we breathe. Sometimes our greatest victories come through our most anguished tears and prayers.
Our day did seem rather Murphy's Law-ish yesterday, but in the end, through prayers I hope I will one day re-read and find God did answer better than I could have asked or imagined, I found a sense of peace. God knows what He's doing. He has not forgotten those who love Him. He has a future in store, though a re-directed one, for us. And the things that break can be fixed.
As for those things that only He can do - well, I can't wait to see what He does with them!