The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank. In elementary school, I remember seeing my mother’s copy of that book, and my mind racing at what must be contained in those snarky, irreverent pages. But in a rare moment of sentimentality, Erma Bombeck said if she could live her life again, she would not wish away the nine months of pregnancy with each child; it is our only chance in life to assist God in a miracle. As a young mother, I laughed and cried through some of the same books in the public library. But now I take issue with her on this miracle business. I believe there are many more daily chances we may not realize we have.
We know that Jesus could have snapped his fingers and Lazarus would have appeared alive in front of them. He could have pushed the stone of his friend’s tomb away with one finger if He wanted to. He didn’t. He asked the bystanders to take away the stone, and remove Lazarus’ grave clothes. Jesus chooses to involve us everyday sinners in performing His miracles even now.
I have had a front row seat to watch many of these “stone movers” over the last 26 months. From 5 am to midnight, I have prayer warriors battling for me every single day. I was given lists of several prayer chains where people have set their phones to remind them to pray. I still get cards and letters every week, and still have people asking about my condition and when I go back to the Cleveland Clinic and what will happen next. These are people with their own families and illnesses and heartaches and jobs and concerns. But they never forget, and they never give up.
Several months ago, a lady from our local church introduced herself and told me she had signed up to pray for me at 3:00 pm every day. My first thought was, WOW! You pray for someone you don’t even know every single day! I am humbled! But then she said, her daughter lives overseas and they often don’t get to talk because of the time difference. So on the rare occasion that her daughter calls, she always takes the call. Earlier that day, her phone rang and she saw it was her daughter calling. She didn’t answer because she had committed to pray for me from 3:00 – 4:00 and it wasn’t quite 4:00 yet. She said, “I made a commitment, and I wasn’t going to break it for anything.” Most people are praying at the top of every hour, which is amazing, but she is praying for me for an entire hour, every single day.
Because of dozens of stories like this, my spiritual heart has been transformed even more than my physical one. I will never again take for granted the opportunity to pray for someone. I will never say, “Can I do anything other than pray for you?” as if that is the least I can do. When I was at my worst, nothing else in the world mattered except imploring the God of the universe for mercy. I wanted all the help I could get with that, and still do.
When God chooses to free me from this, it will be in large part due to the willingness of these amazing people to assist God in a miracle. I have always believed that this story is very little about me and so much more about the unbelievable support and lifting up in prayer I have received from thousands of stone movers. I pray I never forget each incredible person who chose to daily stand in the gap for me when I needed it most. Mostly, I pray to be God’s miracle assistant, His stone mover, too.
I have surprised all the medical professionals with my survival. I feel the sheer miracle of answered prayer, knowing that God was involved. But, the story marches on, as it does for all of us. I don’t want to give the impression that my improvement was due to anything I deserved or earned or even understand. I do know that just as Lazarus must have done, one day soon I will beg to be spared again. God will ultimately say no, as he does for all mortals. My challenge is to react with the knowing that I have now, that God is good. And that good God is writing this miraculous story all the way to the end. That would be the real answer to prayer that we all need.