The ultimate prayer warrior stood before me. It seemed like her prayers always got answered, and whenever any of us needed some ‘extra help’ with the man upstairs, instinctively we always went to her. It’s like he heard her better, like after so many years of following him devotedly that she had earned some sort of special rewards program with God, where instead of a free pastry, she received blessing over every word she raised to him.
In her time she had prayed over lost library books, ‘boo-boo’s,’ and for favorable scores during standardized testing. She had fervently been on her knees after deaths, divorces, and amidst the most concerning health scares…
But today she wanted to know how she could pray for me!
“I just need an apartment… without mice” I noted.
My grandmother stared blankly at me. There was no denying I needed prayer for MUCH more than that, and she knew very well that my life had recently experienced a few ‘hiccups’ (that is to say, if ‘hiccups’ look more like violent convulsions in which one spontaneously foams at the mouth!) Even more, she knew that I desperately needed God to show up in my life, and that it would take much more than a mouse-less roof over my head!
But it was a start, and she humored me regardless, “What would you like this apartment to be like then?”
I smiled. Unfortunately this wasn’t McDonalds it was New York City. And while my heart might skip a beat for a glamorous apartment in a prime location, instead I pay a fortune for my one bedroom apartment above a Jewish Deli. An apartment where the heat and hot water stop working in the middle of a snow storm, the mice run ramped, and the landlord doesn’t call back.
“An elevator would be nice…” my mother chimed in.
I rolled my eyes while my grandma quickly scribbled the addition onto her sheet of paper. Nice, yes… likely in my budget, no!
“You want to be close to the store? Maybe have a nice view out your window?” My grandmother continued to question, jotting down each as she went, “Oh! You would love a nice kitchen wouldn’t you?”
My heart sank at the thought… I would LOVE a nice kitchen. My thoughts then flashed to my 19.8 Cubic ft. french door stainless steel refrigerator with automatic ice maker that I had back home…
I quickly snapped back to reality, wondering where they were going with this.
As I lifted my coffee mug to my mouth my mother continued, “…She definitely needs a two bedroom!”
I nearly spit my coffee out at the absurdity, knowing that a two bedroom would NEVER be something I could afford! Not in this city, and not by a long shot!
…But then God blew my flippin’ mind!
He blew Nehemiah’s mind too!
Nehemiah was a man who had just received news that the walls of Jerusalem had been destroyed, leaving the city unprotected and in ruins. He was a lot like us… discouraged, overwhelmed, and desperately in need of the Lord’s favor in his life.
And after many days weeping, Nehemiah decided to go and rebuild that which was broken. He knew he couldn’t do it on his own, and he cried out to God for help!
“O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me…” Nehemiah 1:11
Nehemiah told God exactly what he needed (in his case the approval from the king to leave, and in mine, an apartment void of rodents!) And while he would have been content with just that, God had SO much more in store…
In the end, not only did the king grant his request, he also went as far to send officers to protect Nehemiah on his journey to Jerusalem. Even further, Nehemiah was provided all the supplies needed to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem entirely, and even enough to build himself a house!
Nehemiah goes on to say that all of these blessings happened “… because the gracious hand of God was on me.” (vs.8)
Now if you are anything like me, you desperately need the gracious hand of God on you…
You look at the ruins that are left of your life, and momentarily question if it’s even possible to rebuild this kind of devastation.
You wonder, even if you knew God could, if your heart can sustain the brutal journey ahead.
I am with you…
Yet today we can rest in the comfort that our God will meet us in our hopelessness, the same way he did for Nehemiah. That He will himself, provide protection for the long journey ahead, and will supply everything needed to restore all that is broken.
This week I am happy to say that God met me in my circumstances and granted my sincere request for an apartment (WITHOUT MICE…)
Not only that but HE BLEW MY FLIPPIN’ MIND and gave me more than I could have ever hoped for when He provided: (*please note that I am screaming while I type this!!!)
– A TWO-BEDROOM APARTMENT
– With an ELEVATOR
– Directly ACROSS THE STREET from the STORE
– With a BALCONY (With the above picture as my VIEW)
– And a beautiful kitchen complete with… are you ready for this?… a 19.8 CUBIC FT. FRENCH DOOR STAINLESS STEEL REFRIGERATOR COMPLETE WITH AUTOMATIC ICE MAKER!!!!!
No really, you can’t make this stuff up!
And while my new apartment doesn’t change my circumstances, I am reminded that the God who provided me with it, CAN!
That while I am still paralyzed in fear at the future, I can find comfort knowing that just like Nehemiah, God will provide everything that is needed to rebuild what is broken, and offer His unparalleled protection over my heart until then.
And maybe just maybe, there is a teeny tiny part of me that is curious to see what He has up His sleeve next…
… And it’s all because the ‘gracious hand of God was on me.’