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?
After a physically exhausting day with children or an emotionally exhausting day on the job, I often find myself craving power. I search the Scripture and pray that I, like Paul, will be “strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might” (Colossians 1:11).
Yep. That would just fit the bill for my needs today. Lots of power in God-sized qualities.
But then the Father urges me to re-examine, so that He may keep revealing. “Strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience.”
I hear His still, small voice: “There are occasions, Kandy, when you will need a mighty surge of supernatural power to achieve a great feat of strength. But most of the time, you are most in need of my power for the acquisition of all faithfulness and fortitude. That’s really where your weakness lies.”
How true. More than power to complete my tasks in record speed, I need the strength to endure a monotonous day with grace. More than energy to keep going until two in the morning, I need the ability to endure long, plodding days without complaining.
What an insight. The Lord is more interested in giving me energy to say “No!” to the thoughts of the evil one than to grant all my healing prayers answered. He knows that giving me power for miracles will just inflate my image of myself.
“Like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My Hand,” says the Lord (Jeremiah 18:6). Sometimes His fingerprints come in the form of great fruit bearing and joy. Sometimes, they will seem quite painful and without purpose. Either way, He will “accomplish what concerns me” (Psalm 138:8). My best reaction is with unwavering conviction of His Love for me. I must hold fast with certainty that He will not forsake the clay that lies in His Hands.
The strength He gives most is the strength to wait. In season and out of season He desires my trust. In forming me into the image of His Son, He is molding a person who can endure. Whether the endurance means the fog of the unknown, the indecision or unfairness of others, the lack of fulfilling ministry, or the existence of crippling emotions. He doesn’t remove the world, but reveals that I can be a conquerer while still living here (Romans 8:37).
May it be, Lord. May it be.