A few years ago our church instituted a Prayer Email Chain. I jumped on the bandwagon very early on, and while I don't always drop everything for a full-blown prayer, I do send off a quick one most of the time when reviewing the emails. I have also gotten into many conversations with the lady who sends the emails out, oftentimes including information that I don't want her to share but share with her because of our friendship. Quite often I remind myself of how happy I am that I serve a God who operates outside the linear timeline we do because I know that what that really means is that it's alright for my prayer to come AFTER the event the prayer was asked for. Though I do try to pray at the specific time a prayer is needed if possible. For instance, if someone is going to the doctor for a test at 1000, I try to pray at 1000 if I can, but if I didn't see the email until the next day, I know my prayer was still heard and taken into account. This is an incredibly optimistic view of Providence, but is there such a thing as a pessimistic view of Providence? Well, dumb question, there is, but that's not where I'm headed (this time).
Since my split-personality life started I have viewed these emails in a different light. Like a lot of people, I am bad at remembering people's names. As I am quick to say when meeting someone new, it isn't that I'm unable to remember names, it's that I'm so much better at forgetting them. In these emails I see names of people I may or may not be able to put with a face, but now, with me being so far from them during the work week I actually feel closer to them when I get these emails. This is very odd because for the most part, I don't feel close to most of them when I'm sitting in church with them. Again, this is a very different topic than the one I want to talk about here. Our church is large, and is made of lots of people who are from the town, have been going to the church 2 or more decades, and aren't as accepting of "outsiders" who have only been going there a "short" while. This is not a wholesale dismissal of the church, because there are lots of us who have only been going there for A decade (come June) that are more banded together (though I'm not sure I mix well with them either), it's just that our diversification is not a well mixed diversification.
And if you take this to mean I don't play well with others I can admit that I tend to be blunt and don't mind speaking what's on my mind. I also have been known to run with scissors and all three of my children were born naked. As you can also see, I've been known to get off track, too.
Recently we have begun a push to pray about the need to relocate the church. We have outgrown the corner we are on and need a bigger facility to continue to reach those we need to reach. Again, the fact of needing to better reach those currently attending is one I have blogged about before (since it is not just a problem of our church) and is not the intent here (it was the intent here and here for 2 examples). One individual has taken it to heart and has been heading up a Call to Prayer on Saturday's in the sanctuary. Periodically he has sent out long epistles the intent of which is to advertise, for lack of a better word, the events. These emails strike me as almost blog-like and I don't like them at all. If I wanted to read the lengthy tomes he prints I would subscribe to a blog he writes (not that he does) as I don't like the stuff in my re-connect with your hometown emails. Last week, however, Providence slapped me in the face.
The emailer listed three unrelated things that had come out in church publications. The first was in the Pastor's column of our weekly newsletter. The second was a prayer email praise for an answered prayer. The third thing I will copy directly from the email:
And Sandra sent this prayer request out this week: Unspoken anonymous prayer request from a church member. Blessings!
You may ask how the last one can be a blessing. Because this church member has faith that no matter what the problem is, nor whether the church know's who they are....God has got this!. I am blessed by this person's faith that the church family will lift up their problem unknown to us but trusting that God has everything under control.
This smacked me in the face though it would surprise most that it did NOT smack me in the face because of the improperly used ellipsis, use of the word nor without neither, or the doubled punctuation. He absolutely nailed the rationale of the anonymous requester. The anonymous requester knows absolutely without question or the slightest hint of doubt that even though no one knows who they are or what the need is that GOD HAS GOT THIS! The anonymouse requester doesn't send all of their requests to the prayer email because he knows God has those requests too. He sometimes don't want to bother others, is sometimes afraid that those who don't like him because he doesn't allow them to rest comfortably in their status quo and speaks his mind (especially in business meetings) wouldn't pray for him if they knew it was him. Is it odd that he still believes their prayers are effective? I don't think so and neither does he.
This was Providence smacking me in the face because of who said the statement, because of where it was said, and because I know the exact mind and heart of the anonymous requester because I am currently wearing the anonymous requester's underwear. The unspoken matter is the very matter that led me to need to find a reason to drop work and go back home last week. The unspoken matter led me on the very hectic journey that provided me an opportunity to remember God's hand is constantly in my life. Not only to cause issues for Him to take care of, not only for Him to take care of, but to smack me upside the face and say, "Yo, Knucklehead! Remember Me? I GOT THIS ONE!"
The prayer isn't answered yet, but it will be.