With a resigned draw of bated breath, a subtle sigh issued forth; a faint, fervent prayer from the lips of the congregated students fell into the pleasant, sunny air between them. The moment was a simple moment, almost expected of the many students in Kingsland Baptist Church of Katy’s mission group to Blackshear, Georgia in the muggy, so-gnat-filled-that-I-want-to-punch-kittens summer of 2007. And the day was beautiful enough, at least as beautiful as could be expected in weather so very deadly to kittens.
Across 20 feet of steaming black top, through a path of scattered grass from the median, lay a dark SUV with a lone occupant behind the wheel, the driver and car upended beside a tree bending beneath the partial weight of the vehicle. After about 50 yards of rolling, bouncing, trouncing and turning, she was still alive — albeit shaken to the extreme.
From Brighter Days Ministries in Georgia, the vans full of students were headed towards Jacksonville, Florida for our flight back to Houston, and we watched as the two-ton projectile rolled and bounced five times before coming to rest. We were certain that the woman inside was injured, probably unconscious.
So we prayed. We were on a mission trip, it’s what we were supposed to do, right? We prayed like crunchy peanut butter — it was rough and slow and stricken with shock — but we prayed nonetheless.
“Amen,” rose the collective release, each of us drained from the startling turn in our drive.
Dozens of students had gathered into circles along the side of the road and prayed for the driver, prayed for the many bystanders and adult leaders who ran to offer aid, prayed for safety, for healing.
But she wasn’t injured one bit. She had scratches from a bit of glass spray, but no deep cuts; her neck would probably be sore the next day, but for the time she felt fine, and she walked around and thanked her helpers.
When not one of us expected the outcome, nor even prayed for the outcome, God offered grace and wisdom beyond that of our young years; sometimes He gently chides us, teaches us faith through awe-inspiring situations.
As tragedy befalls us, we can never be sure of the outcome — could be worse than we thought, or even infinitely better than we expected — but God knows and cares.
With resignation, with faith and peace, we should simply release our prayers to God’s power and wisdom: “Amen”.
"So be it" or "certainly, certainly" in Hebrew, to say "Amen" is to give oneself to the infinite wisdom and knowledge of Father god, creator and king.
I recall once hearing Alex Kennedy, senior pastor at Kingsland Baptist Church, say a memorable statement about prayer: don't pray for God to bless what you are doing; pray that God will lead you to those things he blesses.
So in reading this, know that God has a hand in your life, a wisdom and care beyond our comprehension. Take from this what you will, prayerfully (or not) consider whatever God might have lain upon your heart.
"In nomine Patris, et Filii, Spiritus Sancti." Amen.