Saturday, May 24, 2008

Prayer Story

In 1988, Dennis was looking for a job before he graduated in December from WSU in Pullman, WA. I was merely a friend, but we had a few casual dates during this time when he visited Seattle, over six hours away by car from Pullman. Back then, there were no pc's and long distance calls were expensive. The main way I communicated long distance was through hand written letters. During this time, I wrote Dennis more letters than I sent. The letters I sent were cautious and restrained, almost impersonal. The personal ones I kept to myself.

Eventually, Dennis did accept a job offer in California. What surprised me was that he called me long distance from California after his second interview in late November. And I was speechless when he said that he was going to work in California. I had been praying that he'd accept a job offer in Seattle, and I saw God's answer to my prayers were "no". My train of thought at that time was that God was also saying "no" to my friendship with Dennis ever progressing into something more serious. And also that whatever casual friendship I had with him was going to be even more distant than it was. I was feeling a dear friend slip through my fingers at that moment and there was only one response I could think of. I congratulated him. I mustered up as much enthusiasm that I could find and told him he was in my prayers. Since it was long distance, it was a brief conversation. Besides, I could not think of anything else to say.

At this point, I was used to a lot of romantic disappointment in my life, giving it and recieving it. I didn't date a lot and I never had a serious relationship except a romance that lasted a spring semester during my freshman year. (Yeah, it was only five months but my heart was broken afterwards for a year.) So, when Dennis basically called and said indirectly to me that there was nothing drawing him to Seattle, it was par for course. I was 27 and decided at that moment that it was time for me to be serious about being single for the rest of my life. Not that I had given up hope, but it was my responsibility to be realistic. In my singles group at my church, most were over 30. My closest friends were my age and single without any prospects for husbands.

Besides, I worked overtime with very little time to spare for a serious relationship or even dating. And with lifelong singleness looming over my horizon, I was about work even harder at building a career in my field. My consequent letters to Dennis after his announcement were basically reports of recent promotions and pay raises, which happened relatively quickly after only one month. My extra time on the job was paying off and I had a bright future with the company. The president of the company, Jim, was a Christian and asked me about Dennis at one point. I told him he decided to go work in California. Jim, as sensitively as he could, suggested that maybe it wasn't "meant to be". I never said anything to Jim about Dennis, but I'm sure he heard it through the grapevine that I liked a guy. Jim encouraged me that God had other plans for me, I guess my countenance showed my disappointment.

In my quiet times, though, was my strength. God showed me that although I took a risk in having feelings for Dennis, it was a healthy and good risk even though it didn't go the way I that I desired. And instead of anger and bitterness, I was glad and thankful that God did bring a good and honorable man to me as a friend. I got to the point where I was able to articulate this to my friends and co-workers. And I did pray that God would bless him, cause him to grow spiritually and meet his needs for fellowship. I kept a small prayer journal dedicated to several specific prayer requests that I had prayed for Dennis as well as Scripture verses about where those prayer requests originated from. I determined that if God opened a way for me to give the journal as a gift to Dennis before the end of the year, I would. If not, I would burn it as an offering to Him and that would be the end of my prayers for Dennis.

Long story short, Dennis visited me at Christmas and I gave him the journal along with a book about effective prayer by J. Oswald Sanders that I loved. I just found the book this morning by his Bible, he read parts of it during his quiet time early this morning before he went to work at 5am. And did God answer my prayers for Dennis that I recorded in the journal? Yes, every one of them and none of them had anything to do with me. And He continues to answer them to this day. He just gave me the blessing to be around to see it.

"I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my supplications. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live." Psalm 116:1-2

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