Heath was five when he came to live with us that autumn.
His 20-year-old mom, her boyfriend and another male relative had been evicted from their apartment next door.
Denice asked if we would keep Heath while they lived in their car awhile. Initially, I said “no.” I was afraid of legal ramifications and didn’t want something to happen for which I would be held liable. Yet, as Denice walked out my door, I knew that I had made the wrong decision.
The next six weeks were memorable to say the least. Mark and I added a kindergartener to our family of three.
Nine-month-old Hannah enjoyed Heath’s company and we could tell the feeling was mutual. They crawled after one another and he taught her how to play hide-and-seek.
Things rocked along amazingly smooth until Heath came home from school with a fever. His pale skin seemed more sallow and the circles under his eyes grew deeper. Our own baby had not yet been sick and I wasn’t really sure what to do.
Money was especially tight in those days and I knew that Heath wouldn’t be covered under our meager insurance. I wasn’t even sure that I could take him to the doctor since I wasn’t his legal guardian or anything. Desperately, I turned to James 5:14.
We were attending a very conservative church at the time and I decided against calling in our deacons for a healing service. The only oil I had in the house was 100% vegetable, but I decided I’d get started as Heath seemed to be getting worse. It was going to be quite some time before Mark got home from work.
My faith in the whole process was pretty shaky – yet, I did believe that God was my only Hope. Desperately, I carried the oil-soaked cloth to Heath’s bedside.
I told Heath that I was concerned about him and was going to be praying for him to get better. He’d been praying with us at meals and bedtime, so he nodded his head weakly as I began to stroke his forehead with the cloth.
The prayer itself was nothing special. I rambled about Heath’s need and claimed some simple verses about God’s power. I stumbled with my words and went they fell flat altogether, I finally opened my eyes.
Heath was looking up at me, waiting as it were for his turn to speak.
“I’m gonna be well now, huh?…. I like it when God talks.”
I stared dumbfounded at his simple trust. Then Heath added,
“You did hear Him, didn’t you? I know I did.”
As Heath began to get better, I realized that it wasn’t my faith that restored him, but that of a five-year-old.
It was the first of many lessons that I would learn about power being perfected in weakness.
When have you seen faith blossom in prayer?
My dear child,
True religion isn’t “controlling your every action”. True religion is letting My life loose within you.
Rules and regulations never make anything perfect, not even you. I’m the only perfect One.
Precious, remember that I look past all the stuff and into your heart. I’m always searching for the submissive, not the subjective. That’s the reason that faith is so important to Me. I really don’t need you to try any harder – believe Me, it won’t help my attitude about you. I’ve already completed all that you need to please Me.
Take your hands off the wheel of your life and let Me drive. After all, I built the vehicle and the road. When you drive, you tend to get distracted by others along the way. You end up being partial to some and judgmental with others. And that slows down the process.
Let me drive while you rest beside Me. It’s a far better way to travel.
Aren’t you glad that I’m not distracted by people and things? I see all My children as equals. I like you just as much as I do the greatest evangelist or the cutest child. You all have a seat at my table with equal distances from Me.
I’m yours for the asking. Ask, dear child, I’m so very ready to respond.