(My friend, Katy, mission trip selfie)
The sun shines today, brilliant and deceptive, here in Minnesota. We are frozen in. It’s minus-30, a windchill, they say at 50 below. The whole state, nearly, enjoying a day off, homebound and staying put. The streets quiet, and my house quiet, too. A teen and a twenty up all night in anticipation of a whole day to stay in bed. Not that I get it.
My husband and I wake before light, like always. I start the coffee and start the fire, care for the dog. Her outdoor bathroom a shocking surprise. I watch through the window, coax her to hurry, when partway across the snow-laden deck she strikes a pose like Mr. Tumnus, frozen in place by Narnia’s White Witch.
Dog back inside thawing, husband settled with ice pack and crutches, I sneak back to my chair by the bedroom window. Smoke from a neighbor’s chimney catches pink like fire, faithful sun breaking through arctic cold. And it’s then I hear it. The chickadee song. Faithful, too, or a miracle maybe, tiny body greeting the morning. Song like a prayer.
I’m reading in Matthew*, talking to God, when this melody greets me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. And it strikes me then how life is never the way you expect it, and sometimes things turn out backwards. Like a bird in the snow. Or sun in winter. Mysteries hard to explain, unforeseen.
We’d prayed for his healing. Kyle’s hip, and I’d felt certain of God’s prompting. Felt certain of His power to do it. “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” Matthew again.* So I prayed right up to the day of the surgery. Asked Him for healing. And here we are, five days later, pain free and not so much as a Tylenol since they released him. Healed, it would seem.
Two weeks ago maybe, I ate Pizza Ranch with Katy and she told me all about her YWAM trip. She’d been in Nepal, and a short time in India. I’ve experienced my relationship with God like never before. I saw instant healings, seeds planted, and many lost come home. She’d said this on Facebook, and I’d been eager to hear her stories. Now, plates full of buffet, I asked her my question. Told her about my prayers for my husband, and doesn’t it seem like His healing is different, here from there? Katy answers like I’ve already suspected. Here we pray with our eyes on Plan B, but in Nepal prayers are desperate.
Yesterday at church, just about everyone on staff braved sub-zero temps and made it to prayer. Every Tuesday we circle the tables and lift up requests. This week Jim led us, recently returned from Haiti, and Jeff, too. He told stories of our global partners, terrible, beautiful stories. So much tragic, and so much God is doing. Jim read an article about untouchables in India, and later I shared Katy’s story about India, too. This Holy-Spirit-haunting story, on my mind every day since I heard it.
There was this little girl, ten-years-old, who followed Katy around the city. A name too long to say, Pam for short. She spoke English, understood it, a little shadow listening hard, soaking up gospel and prayer. The girl was Hindu, wore the mark, was drawn to Katy, drawn to her God. After a while Katy asked her, “Do you want to follow Jesus?” It’s then she learned the tragic story. How Pam’s big sister became a Christian. Defied her family. Burned to death by her very own father. Katy’s heart breaking as she hears it, but there’s more. He’s already with me. Innocent child, tells it simply. How when life gets scary, Jesus visits, holds her close, real as real. Little Pam, she knows Jesus, true.
This morning I pray by a window, warm from sun and heated house. Thirty-below plus windchill, and I’d been up last night, too hot, regretting fleece pajama pants, removing blankets. Now I talk to Jesus about chickadees in winter, and a little girl He visits in India. Healing, and plan B and desperation – and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. And it makes me wonder just how much I’m privileged and how much I’m missing, and if this life was lost, what exactly would I find?
*Matthew 10:39; 11:5