The day after Melanie’s mom died in Michigan, one of Melanie’s childhood pastors, now retired in Lakeland, paid us a visit.
Pastor Dave shared some memories of Melanie’s mom and dad and her brothers and sisters from 50 years ago. He also asked about our present circumstances where Melanie is watching over me closely as I recover from a stroke. Her sense of duty to care for her husband had kept her by my side instead of going home to see her mom one last time.
We asked Pastor Dave to pray with us as his visit came to a close. My ears pricked up as he prayed one particular blessing for me: that God would grant me courage to face the difficult days of recovery ahead.
The next day another friend came by to visit with me for awhile. When he, too, prayed that I would have courage, it again caught my attention. I mentioned the visit by Melanie’s childhood pastor and his prayer the previous day. My friend spelled out his take on what constituted courage and what made it different from bravery, for example.
I said I was interested that two different visitors had mentioned the same request in their prayers for me. I had no recollection of hearing the word in prayers for me before in my season of recovery.
The next day Melanie had me scheduled for a visit with an eye doctor, as part of a response to the double vision the str0ke introduced to my list of physical problems. Our appointment was at 10:15 am and Melanie had noon appointments to meet at our house later that morning.
We were finally taken int0 an examination room shortly after 11:00 am. Melanie whispered that, if necessary, she would run home to meet her noon appointment and then return to pick me up. My nerves began to tense up. I hated the thought of being left alone in the doctor’s office, no matter how friendly and helpful the staff.
They helped me climb into the big exam room chair. My walker was moved up against the wall across the room. The doctor put the pupil-dilation drops in my eyes and announced he would return in a few minutes to give the drops time to work. And Melanie announced it was five minutes to twelve and she had to go t0 0ur house.
I was left alone sitting, blinded and stranded on the exam chair.
The Lord brought to mind the prayers for courage said over me the previous two days. I tried to calm my anxious heart.
Yes, it all sounds trivial in retrospect. No, nothing bad happened. The doctor eventually returned. He walked in as I was quietly reciting scripture promises to myself. Even Melanie eventually returned. A trivial episode. Trivial, once it was over.
I described it as such to a friend who brought Melanie lunch the next day.
“I have prayed courage for you several times,” this friend said, calmly. “You just weren’t ready to hear it.”
I blinked my eyes in astonishment. “I do not remember hearing you,” I said. And pondered how often the intercessors get sent to pray for us long before we know we have any need for their intervention?