How would you...know?
The aroma of coffee has an intoxicating effect at The Main Cup. It's a sunlit Monday morning; school is in session for most, but I have managed to put off any errands this day until past 9 AM. Sipping on a delicious cup of Daphne's perfect java, I sit across the table from a good friend, who always is able to mix insight from all his world travels with advice. I value all of this.
We quietly talk of things shared; yet eventually, he asks the inevitable, "How are you doing?"
"I'm doing well," I reply.
He wrinkles his face at my masked response.
"My friend," I say, "it just doesn't make sense; they (my oncologist and surgeon) say I've got stage 4 cancer and all this terrible stuff is happening inside of me. I tell them they are infringing on my hopes of an NFL career." I smile.
He's not satisfied with that response either; he too has avoided these conversations in his own life. So, I sober up a little and explain that I feel good; aches and in unusual places make me question from time to time, but mostly I feel good. "I can't explain it; I know and have seen and have experienced how excruciating cancer can be, but for now, I keep believing that they really don't know what is happening inside me. And God gives me another week."
He looks me straight in the eye and says, "People need to know."
I shake my head slowly, pursing my lips together. "It's already too much."
"Jon, people are praying."
"Yes, they are... All the time... From all over the world. I can hardly get my head around it."
"If they don't know their prayers are being answered, then what?"
I sit quietly. "Am I being selfish by being silent?" I think.
Sometimes we think we are acting out of humility.
My friend had helped me to see what I wasn't seeing and hear, what I wasn't hearing.
He sits forward now, elbows on the table. "There is hope in knowing your prayers are being answered – they do have other prayers – and they are hoping those prayers get answers too.
Prayer is our first line of defense against the attacks and pressures of this world – not our last. Too often we focus on the world's plan A and B "... and if that doesn't work, we can always try..." Their words tail off, and occasionally are followed with, "I'll be praying for you." In other words, "If all else fails, we can try seeing if God is home."
Not you. From the start, you have prayed. You have done so in cards, and notes, and congregations... in your family gatherings, and at ours. At your tables and in the dark of night. You have stopped us on the street, prayed over the phone, texted us prayers, posted them on Facebook and allowed your kids to whisper them to you. At our schools, at the store, and at our youth building; even at the Midway. There is no measure to the impact that has played in our lives or the lives of our kids and their families.
Your's have blessed us, sustained us, encouraged us, picked us back up after a hard fall, given us words to speak through tears and fears that we have kept to ourselves and a few others.
They have worked for ten years and are continuing to work now. Thank you!
Please don't stop.
We too pray for your specific needs; and we have seen miraculous gifts in your lives. We hold on to that for you, now and now and now.
We love you!