This is part six of a series on prayer asked and answered however, this post is the finale of the second act which began last Monday and continued Wednesday, if you need to return and catch up.
Over the next few months Lisa and I found each other on Facebook and I got to be a part of her life watching her son flourish and listening to tales from her job. At some point I started seeing pictures of her and her son with her family, her son playing with his grandfather, trips together to exotic places. I thought to myself, wait a minute, I thought these were the brutally, abusive grandparents? There were spa trips with her mom while dad watched her child and professions of love for him on his birthday and father’s day. The crux of all our prayer and concern was because she was a single mom with no family to turn to. Now it seemed we had a very happy and well-to-do family that didn’t seem at all to be as she originally painted them. I’m all for people changing but …
Should I be praising the Lord for a remarkable turnaround?
I started to wonder, could the whole thing have been a lie? Did she just play us to get situated in a new apartment with money, food, and possessions? We’d even fed her out of the women’s ministry emergency pantry – had she taken food that could have helped someone truly needy? I asked God these questions, never receiving a clear answer, and continued to watch her life unfold on Facebook and at church.
Over the course of the following year I discovered that she actually had run from a bad situation in her previous marriage. The ex-husband had committed adultery and was still attempting to get full custody of their child and other friends had been involved in transporting her to court. Yet there was still no sign of an abusive relationship with her parents. Lisa willingly and often put herself and her son in their home and continually posted pictures of her happy family. I wondered if I should confront her and prayed, asking God that same question. Still, no answer.
Sometime later we ended up at the same table for a function at church. She sat next to me and we began to reminisce about when we’d met. I pulled up my phone and retrieved the original blog post I’d written about her (essentially what you read on Monday and Wednesday of this week) and watched as she silently moved through the blog, reading. At the end she gave me back my phone. “That was a different time,” she said quietly, her head down. I nodded and waited for more, kinda hoping for some inkling of regret or modicum of remorse and got nothing.
You, dear reader, are the first to hear the rest of the story. Well … except for Paula. I told her the rest of the story last week and it’s because of her that you’re hearing about it now. Why? Because as I was telling her the story I was thinking to myself ‘We may have been sucked into her tale of woe, but God doesn’t get duped.’
Why would God have provided all that He did for a liar and a cheat?
I’d asked Paula if she had an answer to that question and that’s when it hit me – to grow our faith. The faith of everyone involved in God’s miraculous answer to prayer.
He grew Lisa’s faith by showing her how He works in the real world. How she may have come out of a hopeless and loveless situation (and she did) but here were people who actually cared about her. Godly women who didn’t know one iota about her dropped everything over the course of four days and with the help of the Lord, took care of her and her son. The amount of love she felt had to have been overwhelming. Other than the fact she was a young Christian, I had no idea where she was in her Christian walk at the time of our meeting. Now I can see that she might have been having severe issues with her faith as her marriage had broken down. I do know that she became a stronger woman of faith over the past few years. Perhaps she had to witness the selfless love of others to get her started on that journey.
The entire situation also strengthened the faith of nine other women (and untold others on our periphery) who got to be used by God to help the miracle play out. From the moment that we prayed Ephesians 3:20 in the Spirit on Wednesday night until the last $20 bill came to me on Sunday morning, God continued to amaze and confound and astound.
Could it have been that all along? That we all needed a big dose of faith-building?
Oh yeah … and I never did miss any of the money I spent on Lisa. God has a marvelous way of altering what matters in your life.
So, what’s going on in your life where you need to pray the Ephesians 3:20 prayer? Let me know so I can pray for you!
Have a wonderful weekend!