Saturday, January 24, 2015

Golf Ball Call To Prayer

She approached me after I had been away for three weeks, the day after the longest haul of our road trip back from the south to see family and friends.  As the sole driver in our merry little traveling band of a family, and with a grand total of something like 45 hours of driving behind me, that Sunday I was happy to be home and going nowhere for a long while.

I knew we had been away too long, though this trip had been no different than our usual length of time away.  It wasn’t too long to be with dear people we don’t often see (connecting, enjoying, being refreshed), but God has so knit us in to a body of believers, it was too long being away from our church family!  I felt a strong urging to get back home where things were going on in the lives of people I love and had been out of touch with while away.

So that first Sunday we arrived back it was a whirlwind of faces and welcome backs.  In the sea of activity, this dear sister approached me, talked of an MRI to see if a tooth infection had caused neurological damage to her brain.  I was concerned, to be sure, but took my cues from her attitude and disposition, though I know she had to be tempted by fear and anxiety.

She managed to smile. Her trust in her Lord and Savior was so strong and sure.

I said I would pray for her and I did and I do, believing God for her healing, but then news came that she has a tumor the size of golf ball on her brain stem.

A tumor?  The size of a golf ball?  On her brain stem...

I’ll spare all the details of the past few years of this friend’s life.  It’s not really my story to tell.  Let’s just put it this way, the haul she has been on has been a lot longer and harder than 45 hours of road tripping with three young’ns and there is a very long road ahead of her still!  Yet, in the midst of her own struggles and weakness of body, this dear sister has reached out to serve and minister to my family.  

The first birthday I had after my husband left, she invited us to dinner and baked a delicious chocolate cake from scratch.  I am not even sure she could eat it because of the strict discipline she was employing to attain gut healing.  She fed us and sent me home with a heart held and our bellies full.  I want to give this sister a gift back and I think I have found a way.

I was in my very dark, damp, c-c-c-cold basement the other day, instructing children in all the ways of how to do laundry.  Above my washing machine, in a rickety three tiered basket, there rested a bunch of bright yellow golf balls I use for felting old sweaters.  I took one down and held it.  I showed the children.

“This is the size of Mrs. M’s tumor on her brain stem.”

Each one took a turn holding the golf ball.  Then I got the idea that I would put it on our table so we could remember to pray for her before every meal.  When we sat down for lunch, I picked it up again, thinking, “That’s just not good enough.”  I put it in my pocket.  

There.  That’s better.

Every time I put my hand in my pocket, I feel that golf ball and I pray for my friend.  I want to issue a challenge to all of you and to myself.  It doesn’t matter the color, just find a golf ball and carry it around in your pocket or in your purse and every time you see it and think you need to find another place to put it down, don’t.  Pray.  Pray for my friend.  Pray for friends you know with illnesses of any sort.  Pray for marriages, pastors, missionaries, the lost, orphans, ministries, divorcees, single moms.  Thank God for your health today, for your relationships.  Thank him for making a way to come to him for mercy, grace, deliverance: salvation.  Thank him for healing and transforming you from the inside out and taking away the tumors in your soul.  Pray for strength for whatever lies ahead in the path marked out for you in your life.

Just pray.

Perhaps this doesn’t have to be an everyday, all the time thing. Pick one day a week and do this: try putting the golf ball in your sock one day,  your bra the next.  Don’t get all weird on me.  The idea is to allow yourself to be inconvenienced, uncomfortable.  Be hit with the reminder that while we might be able to take it out and put it where we want, people with tumors and illness can’t do the same.  We need each other.  We all need prayer.  Let's do it.  I am thinking I will have the children hide a few golf balls throughout the house and make it a game… when I find one: time to pray.  

Will you join me in this challenge?  What’s burdens you?  Maybe a golf ball in our pocket will remind us to be aware of the presence of a Sovereign God who is always there, always good, always caring and who longs to hear our prayers.

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