We made it through Hurricane Matthew even after Shepherd Smith of Fox News predicted we were all going to die…and our children too!
But people prayed. And prayer can move the hand of God and apparently hurricane Matthew as well because it stayed 40 miles off our coast.
I’m in constant wonder of how prayer works and the way the Spirit of God prompts us, sometimes before we know what we’re praying for.
A few years back while living in Tampa I had one such prompting.
Our boys, both in their early 20’s, had just left to go back to their prospective cities after Christmas break. David and I adore our kids BUT we both agree as good as it is to see their headlights coming into the drive, after 10 days together their tail lights leaving don’t look so bad either. Needless to say we were ready to get back to our empty nest way of life.
After I made sure the boys were both home safe I snuggled under the covers next to David who was already asleep. Normally this was the most peaceful time of day for me— sliding between the cool sheets and staring up at the ceiling until sleep overcame my consciousness. However this night was different. Instead of blissful slumber, without warning I was gripped with a sense of dread and foreboding.
Was I dreaming already? No, not possible, I was sure I was awake. The foreboding came from the sense our youngest son Aaron, was gone.
I would never see him again.
Never hear his voice.
It was so real as if my mind was hijacked and transported into a place of the future, a place of mourning and the waves of grief were drowning me in the dark. The hurt was palpable, uncontrollable tears trickled down my cheeks. It was weird, surreal and terrifying. My only explanation was our little man needed protection from something. With anxiety pulsing through every vein I started praying with abandon. I prayed until I passed out.
When morning came the dread was gone but the memory hung around all day like a dark cloud. It was then I realized how much of my prayer life of late concentrated on my oldest son who was dealing with an issue. But with the previous night’s goings on I refocused my attention on the little man.
The next week Aaron called to announce he was coming home for his birthday the coming weekend. Normally I would be elated (headlights coming) but after the episode the week before the thought of him making the drive from Tallahassee to Tampa stirred me into a panic.
What if he gets into a car accident? What if this is why I was prompted to pray?
Please, I realize this is an overexcitable and perhaps an irrational line of thinking but…
1. I did have the terrible anxiety provoking premonition.
2. I’m a mom and we are allowed to be irrational when it comes to our kids. Yes?
Moms get a pass.
Aaron let me know he couldn’t leave until after dinner and was going to travel the back roads because it was faster and he would be home about midnight.
To which I thought—
Just heap more on to my worry by taking the roads where it’s pitch black, there’s no cell phone coverage and little civilization for miles. Sure makes perfect sense to me!
His words only served to heighten my angst and rev up my prayer vigil. However right before he left Tallahassee he called to say he was bringing home a friend, which temporarily made me feel better for some reason.
At some point during the evening I surrendered my will and gave it over to God, as if I had any control anyway…
Around 11:00 p.m. right as I was drifting into sleep the phone rang.
My heart jumped out of my chest while cold chills simultaneously ran up my arms. Breathless, I answered.
“Mom, We hit a deer.”
Surmising my son was alright since I could hear his voice, I asked the dumbest question of my life.
“Oh honey, is the deer dead?”
“Yeah mom the deer is dead but I’m not!”
Thank you Jesus!
The deer rendered the car an undrivable mess and David and I drove two hours to some desolate road in the middle of the night to retrieve the deer killers.
On the way back to the house, I told the boys about my premonition and Aaron remarked,
“Funny thing mom, after we hit the deer, I told Tyler, I don’t think God wanted me on the road tonight.”
My thoughts exactly.
As it turned out, earlier in the evening the boys were stopped for “exceeding” the speed limit at which time Aaron was told by the police officer his license was suspended because of a past due ticket from the previous year and could no longer drive until the matter was settled. Aaron’s friend Tyler took the wheel and was driving when the deer jumped in front of the car.
So I ask, what might have happened if I wasn’t prompted to pray?
What if I was prompted but didn’t listen?
Would it have been the same outcome if the boys hadn’t been stopped, detained and made to switch drivers?
We’ll never know for sure.
But I believe in the power of prayer and the might of The Spirit who prompts us to pray.
And I also believe more in the indomitable hand of God and less in the fallible predictions of Shepherd Smith.
The Spirit moves.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” Ephesians 6:18
Praying for all those affected by Hurricane Matthew.
Looking forward, pressing on and seeking God in every bump and twist in the road.