The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center oflife in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity ofa child, you’ll never get in.” Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them. —Mark 10:13–16 MSG
Late night calls at the church parsonage seldom mean good news. Our phone rang late Saturday night and Betty said, “I am so sorry to disturb you, Pastor Fuller, but my five-year-old granddaughter is staying with us and said I needed to call you. Betty was a beautiful redheaded grandmother. Her daughter was a brunette, but her granddaughter, Michelle, was a miniature redhead just like her grandmother.
Betty said “Michelle has a Boston terrier, and someone dropped poisoned hamburger over the back fence. The vet told me the dog will probably not survive the night. Michelle wants you to pray for her dog.” At first my husband was speechless, but then he began to pray for Michelle’s dog – that God would heal the dog if it was his will to do so. (We always have to get that phrase in there just in case the prayer is not answered exactly like we want it answered.) It was difficult to sleep that night knowing a child’s heart was broken and none of us could ease her pain.
Through the night our hearts were breaking for a little girl experiencing the death of a loved one for the first time. I truly dreaded seeing Betty and Michelle Sunday morning. They were not in Sunday school, but as the morning service began, I noticed they were present. At the prayer time, Betty stood up to give a testimony. She told the story of the poison meat and the little Boston terrier, which was expected to die. Then she told about Michelle’s request to call Pastor Fuller and ask him to pray. Tears glistened in her eyes and she said, “Her dog made it through the night and the vet doesn’t know how, but the dog will survive.”
I have no problem knowing how that dog survived. The reason was certainly not Betty’s faith, not Tom’s faith, and not my faith. No, we were too blinded by knowledge, logic, and common sense to believe God would reach down and heal a poisoned animal. Life just does not usually work that way. But a child had absolute faith in what she had been taught about God, about the power of prayer, and she exercised that faith.
Oh Lord, help me never to be faithless. Help me to believe you meant that “whatever you ask in my name, I will do.” Help me to comprehend that “whatever” means “anything”. Help me to understand that I cannot come up with one thing that is left out of “whatever.” Amen.
Rev. Mary Bruce Fuller, Minister and Attorney, Florence, Mississippi
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Scripture quotations marked Phillips are taken from The New Testament in Modern English by J. B. Phillips, 1962 edition, published by Harper Collins.