Saturday, January 10, 2009

Faith Reached Down: A Story

Do you remember when you were a child and your mom or dad would read you a story? Listening to a story brought life to you. It stirred your imagination and it inspired you whether you realized it or not. I remember my fourth grade teacher would read to us at the end of each class period for about fifteen minutes. It was Stuart Little. It was a special treat to sit and listen and imagine the pictures in my head.

So today, I want to simply share a story about a little girl who had one brother. It is a true story. It is about how faith reached down through the prayers of a little 11 year old girl who was afraid her brother would die.

It was a normal day. Daddy was at work. And Momma was home taking care of my brother and me. I was eleven. My brother Chris was twelve. The phone rang. It was my brother's friend who lived in town inviting him over to his house to play.

We lived in a very small town-Ware Shoals, S.C. so my brother could just hop on his bike and be there in a few minutes. My mom did not want him to go at first. But my brother kept begging her to let him go. Finally she decided to let him go.

When Chris arrived at his friend's house, his friend was alone. His parents were at work. They started playing cops and robbers like most little boys like to play. My brother's friend went and got his dad's gun which unknown to them, was loaded.

My brother was the robber. So he went to hide from the cop. Chris found his hiding place in the bottom of a closet. As his friend was searching, he had the gun. Innocently, he opened the door and exclaimed, "Got Cha!" He pointed the gun at Chris and pulled the trigger. The gun went off and the bullet flew into my brother's right upper shoulder.

My mother received a call about the incident so we flew to the medical clinic where my grandfather was a doctor. I remember sitting in the waiting room, terrified to the core because I could hear my only brother crying and moaning in pain.
Moments later the ambulance arrived to take him to the local hospital which was about 30 minutes away.

I found myself in a car with a kind, strange woman who also took me to the hospital. She kept telling me that everything would be fine. It did not seem like it.

It was late at night. The news came that the bullet had done a lot of damage to Chris. The bullet had gone almost all the way through his shoulder. I remember feeling it protruding from his back after the accident when he was home from the hospital.

The bullet broke his collar bone, collapsed his lung, damaged his nerves that controlled his arm and hand (he was paralyzed in his right arm). He had to have emergency surgery to have a shunt put in his shoulder to drain the internal bleeding.

Shortly after that a blood blister formed on his main artery. He was in intensive care and the doctors were saying that if that blister burst, he would bleed to death.
I cannot explain how all this news overwhelmed my 11 year old heart. It was more than I could bear.

I was so shocked I could not cry. I was numb. But I did know how to do one thing. I knew I could pray. It was one night that I was staying with my grandparents. We had been at the hospital and we had left for the evening. I was ready for bed and was waiting for my grandmother to tuck me in. I knelt by the bed and cried to God, "Please let Chris live God. Please make him better. Do not let him die."

The next day we received news that things were looking a little better for Chris. So from then on he gained his strength and healed a little more as each day passed. He was paralyzed and the doctors did not know if he had permanent nerve damage. I watched him struggle everyday to do the normal things such as lift a fork, dress himself, bathe, etc. It took a long time for him to heal.

But I was happy, overjoyed that he made it and that the bullet did not claim my only brother's life. Faith reached down and answered my prayer. I know others were praying too. But oh how God loves to answer the prayer of a little child. And I know He heard me. That is one reason I believe so strongly today in the miracle power of God. I believe that what God says, He will do. That is why it is so important for our children to see that God does arrive in the midst of messes. Jesus was born in a pile of mess. Isn't that proof that He loves to make beauty out of mess and take care of the rest?

One reason I wanted to share this story is because God has his eye on families...on mine and on yours. He cares so much for the unity within families. We pray for God's kingdom to come and for His will to be done. We pray and ask Him to enlarge and stretch our tent pegs. But sometimes we overlook the most important things.

I wanted to dedicate this story and this post to my older and only brother Chris. He is 45 years old. A faithful husband, a loving and respectful man. He is also a caring and excellent father who is engaged in the lives of his two sons. I can look and see that even though he almost did not make it, he is here and alive 30 plus years later representing the love of the father to his family and to the world.

I love you Chris. I have always looked up to you and respected you as my older sibling, my brother and my friend. You were so meant to be and your life bears much fruit. It is seen in your dedication and your faithfulness.

God is calling to families in this season. Without healing and unity in the family, there can be no unity in churches and ministries. If you pray and ask God to bring His kingdom, do not be surprised to see Him prompting you to seek healing in your family relationships. I know that is what He has been doing in me. And it is a wonderful gift. He is brooding over the family this year. Be expectant.

Love your brothers, your sisters, you mother and father. Love your grandparents, in laws and cousins. Tell them you love them and show them. Help them when they are in trouble and do not expect repayment. Love them unconditionally. Then watch the blessing and the glory of God cloak and soak and tackle you in 2009.

Morning Bagel:Love one another. In the same way I loved You, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples-when they see the love you have for one another. John 13: 34-35

Daily Hug: There are many things I can do. There are many goals I can strive toward. But I am learning each day that my life passes before me, that when all is said and done, love is the one and only thing that will last beyond death, loss, disappointment, fear, and discouragement. Love is the reality of life that we so easily loose sight of.

Lord, You were love and You came down. You reached down in the midst of messy lives to show that there is hope and that there is a way. It is You. Help me to love in a way that is pleasing to You God. I know I cannot do this in my own human ability. Because when I do, I always expect something in return. But when you love through me Lord, I find joy and fulfillment in the giving with no strings attached.
Thank You for the blessing of family. For sisters and brothers. For Mothers and Fathers, Grandparents , in laws and cousins. You are so into family into relationships. That is why You showed up in the middle of a family and in the middle of a mess of manure. Because You knew there would be messes in families in the midst of this sinful world. Restore families God. Make them what You want them to be so we can shine together before a dark world and before individuals who need to be a part of Your family. In Jesus Name, Amen.


kblair said...


Betsy Thraves said...

Ange, I really belief what you said ab out God working in families this year is prophetic and I intend to take it to heart and pray in that direction. Love you!

antoinette said...

You are amazing Ange!!Love your blog!!Just stumbled across it!!Beautiful family!!
best wishes from Sydney ,Australia

Antoinette,Tim and Anastasia (16 months)