How Does God Answer Prayer – Part 2
A few months ago I wrote a brief post about how God answers prayer. The incident described in that post concerned God’s involvement in a nearly disastrous update to my new computer.
This is a subject which is probably obscure to many, so when I had a very clear answer to prayer on my Slovakia trip, I decided to do a second installment. In fact I also have in mind a third installment, so maybe I’ll end up with a short series of posts showing how God works in my life through a prayer relationship. Since I only posted ‘Part 1’ on my personal Facebook page, I’m including it at the bottom of this story.
Toward the end of our time in Slovakia the missions team returned to the city of Trencin to minister informally for a few days with the church there. On Sunday, July 28, 2013 I was asked to preach at the church service. I had been feeling very well the whole time I was in Slovakia, but I woke up that morning with a vague discomfort in my lower abdomen. It wasn’t nearly enough to stop me from preaching, so I intentionally had a small breakfast and then went to church. I was not aware of any increase in discomfort that morning.
After church we went to the Abrman’s house for lunch. I was still uncomfortable in an ill-defined way, so I ate a pretty modest lunch as well. After lunch we were scheduled to go to a place near the Vah River, just west of Trencin, where the adventurous among us could do some rock climbing. By the time we got in the car my discomfort was increasing, and I wondered if I might have some kind of lower intestinal bug. When we got there it was clear that I was not going to participate in the rock climb. Even if I had been feeling well I would not have had the strength for the vertical face we were tackling. There was, however, a back way up the rock, and after watching the climbing for a few minutes, I climbed up this way. Even this climb was steep and after reaching the top and looking around, I returned to the group mostly by sliding on my back side. I was dirty and hot and as I sat down in the shade I found myself also very uncomfortable.
After a while the discomfort and tension across my mid-section, especially on my right side, became pretty acute. I couldn’t sit still, so I walked around. I walked down to the river and cleaned the dirt off my hands and arms. I walked back to the group, but still couldn’t sit, so I walked some more. I was seriously considering asking Jozef to take me back to the house so that I could be near a bathroom. All of I sudden I realized ‘I know what this is!’ Many years ago I had a couple of incidents with kidney stones, and I immediately knew that the pain I was feeling was exactly that pain.
“Oh Lord,” I cried out in silent prayer, “I really don’t need a kidney stone right now. It would be a major disruption for Jozef and Anna and the team, and I would be no use to you at all in the grip of this pain.” I went back to the group and sat on a log, continuing to pray “Lord, please heal me.” And He did. As I sat there, over the course of five or at most ten minutes, I realized that the discomfort was ebbing and then was gone. If I had been at the doctor I would have rated my pain at the beginning of this time as an eight or nine. At the end it was clearly a zero.
Not many minutes later a group of ladies from Jozef’s church came over to ask me some questions – deep questions, as it turned out, about spiritual depression. I prayed hard that the answers I gave would be meaningful and minister to them. And I saw some evidence that this prayer too was answered. But that conversation could not have taken place if I was in the grip of the kidney stone pain, or on the way home or to the hospital.
So how does God answer prayer? Sometimes miraculously. I know you could argue for a coincidence, or a mis-diagnosis on my part, but I have to believe that God touched and healed me in that moment. And not just for my benefit, but also for the benefit of others who may have needed to hear one of the things I said, or the verses I quoted for trusting God in times of depression.
How Does God Answer Prayer? – Part 1, June 29, 2013
OK, I’m sitting at my computer this morning and I’ve just finished a full back up when a notice comes up that some kind of Samsung update is available. I look and it’s a BIOS update. I’ve been having a few little system glitches, so I think updating the BIOS is a good idea. So I click go.
The update begins to download, pauses for a few seconds, then reports failure. Looking at the wireless icon I notice that it has gotten a red X across it. Exploring further I discover that though the machine thinks the wireless adapter is on, it reports it as unavailable. Oh no, I think, either the BIOS killed the wireless adapter or it had a hardware failure.
So I reboot the machine. No joy. Wireless adapter still unavailable. At this point I’m wondering how long it would take Best Buy to decide they needed to replace my machine – and how long it would take to get back up and running if they did. I preach tomorrow and leave for five weeks of travel on Tuesday.
I’m praying at this point ‘Oh Lord, fix this thing.’ It really looks like a hardware problem to me. I go into the Device Manager and find the wireless network card. It reports ‘working properly’ Not. I explore online reports (using my phone) of similar issues on this model of computer. Nothing directly applicable, though some people report other problems and failures with the BIOS update. Praying hard now, because this could be a major distraction / additional burden.
I go back into the Device Manager. It has a ‘disable’ feature for the wireless adapter. I figure it’s disabled already, so what can it hurt? I hit the disable button and it takes a long time to seem to accomplish that. Wireless icon disappears. I’m praying “Oh Lord let this work!” I hit the enable button. Wireless icon reappears but still shows no networks for a couple of seconds. Then the computer connects to my home network and the internet. Fixed.
Is this answered prayer or modestly experienced troubleshooting? And how would I tell the difference. I prefer to believe in a God who answers prayer but uses our own actions and attitudes as the vehicles behind which he hides his hand.
PS – with some trepidation I repeated the BIOS update and it worked too.