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You never know where your prayers will lead you

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding,

In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.

Psalm 3:5-6

I’ve been teaching this verse to children (others, and my own!) for the past ten years of ministry. Always known it was true, but usually applied it in the broad, sweeping sense.

But what if the God who created the broad, sweeping universe AND the most minute, microscopic atom, wants us to take His BIG promises and believe them for the tiniest of details?

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That Saturday morning, we prayer-walked those streets of the community…my prayer group (consisting of me, with a  double stroller full of children fighting over whose turn it was to sit where, the PAW Kids director, and two girls in her program) felt burdened to go walk the Old Bankhead highway…the one with the broken sidewalks and far more boarded up storefronts than actual businesses. We walked about, praying for those abandoned places…asking God to fill them with thriving businesses.  Those little girls paused before each empty place, folded hands and asked God to help the stores….even the liquor store, the most thriving place of commerce here…..{I think God knows how to best handle that prayer} We boldly asked for Him to send Christian business owners who would employ people in the community and use employment as a means of discipleship.

Not THREE days later, the sign hung, bold and inviting, with balloons bobbling in the wind.

“NOW OPEN-WINGS and PHILLY”

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I called my prayer partner rejoicing.

A week later, Danny stops by the store to buy some food and introduce himself.

That night, his eyes all afire with the witnessing of the Lord’s work, he declared.

“You’re not going to believe this!”

And proceeds to tell me that a Korean couple bought the place and opened the store.  (We have such a love and admiration for Koreans after our time of pastoring at the small Korean church in Florida)

“But get this,” he says,

“The owner looked at the property three different times but kept trying to find a different place in a nicer area of Atlanta to open their store. He told me that God KEPT telling them to open it here, even though it didn’t make any sense to them.”

They had to trust in the Lord and his leading with all their heart

 ….and they had to lean not on their own understanding, and simply let Him make their path’s straight.

straight into the path of countless prayers for the redemption of this community.

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Big brown eyes fill with tears…the boy perched on the stool, caught in the act of sneaking gluten-containing granola bars.

“Mommy, will I always be gwuten-fwee?  Even when I am a daddy? I don’t wanna be gwuten-fwee anymore”

His puffy, pale face, dark circles in His eyes, and waning energy levels have been tell-tale signs, that with all these dinners we’ve been hosting…with sugar and gluten filled baked goods being contributed by neighbors, my little guy has been sneaking that which is toxic to his body.

This, coupled with the fact that we still haven’t found a new naturopath for him to see since we moved, had sent me to my knees in prayer, asking that God would lead us to the doctor to oversee Benjamin’s continued path of healing and detox from his mold exposure. As I prayed, I kept feeling there was a Korean doctor out there somewhere who was to see Benjamin.  And then a few days later, as I prayed for God to lead us to that Korean doctor, the strong impression to go to the new “Wings and Philly” restaurant in order to seek one out (maybe they had one that went to their church?!?) set in….and I couldn’t shake it.

So,

I set out to visit the Wings and Philly joint.

in an all-Black under-resourced neighborhood,

in order to find a Korean doctor,

for a 5 year old with toxic black mold residual issues.

It made no sense according to my own understanding. 

The next afternoon, after school, I pull up to the place and enter, ready to explain my very odd situation.

‘How may I help you?’

asked the black young woman at the order window.

“Well, I’m not here to get food….I was actually wondering if the owner was here.”

“Ok….what to you need him for?”

“Well, this is going to sound crazy but I am looking for a Korean doctor.”

At this point, the owner emerges from the back, and I set in on my complicated story.

“Hi, My name is Kimberly, I’m Pastor Danny’s wife….I know this is going to sound crazy, but my son has some health issues and I’ve been praying for God to lead me to a doctor for him and I felt like God told me to come here to look for one…maybe you know of one who practices natural medicine?”

After  bit of puzzling over it all, he told me to write down my contact information and my son’s illnesses and he said he would ask around.

“You don’t have a doctor in your church, do you?”

“No…..but wait one minute. My pastor  here today. Let me get her”

The cashier girl and I glance awkwardly at each other while we wait.

“I know you probably think this is crazy…but I believe that God hears our prayers and answers them…I’m just trying to obey the promptings”

“No, no,” she said, “I don’t think it’s crazy.  You know, my grandfather is a pastor so when I was little I went to church with him. Then I stopped going to church.   A few weeks ago,  I was in Family Dollar buying something and the owner and his wife were behind me in line and asked me to come work for them. Being here reminds me of a lot of what I grew up with. “

Boom! Korean doctor or none. The EXACT answer to our prayers for a)Christian business owners, b) employment for members of the community, and c) discipleship to happen in those businesses was standing right before me real and in the flesh.

 Even if God only brought me here to hear that, it would have boosted my faith in the power of God to answer the prayers of His people.

But still there is more…

The pastor (who was an older woman) emerges from the back and I explain again, the story.

She says, “I want to pray for him.”

And we all migrate to the car and right there in the broken up parking lot, she lays hands on him and starts praying….Korean style.  And the owner is piping in “Amen!”, “Amen!” and I’m pouring out a mother’s heart for the full restoration of her sons health and for Jesus power to pulse through his life.  And He spoke again.

This Jesus, whom I serve, who imparts His Holy Spirit to His people.

He spoke and mamma wept.

“I led you here to find a doctor. I led you here to find a Korean doctor. And this Korean pastor knows that, ultimately,

 I AM Benjamin’s doctor.”

And you needed her faith, to remind you of that.

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After laying hands on each of the kids, and praying for hearts that we long to be set ablaze with the ever-close presence of Jesus, we start talking…

The owner explains that back in Korea, this woman pastor had prayed for many different people who had cancer, and arthritis and other illnesses and God had used her to heal them. And I believe it. I have seen these prayer-is-the-first-offensive Koreans labor in prayer (DAILY 5 am prayer meetings)  Our own Korean pastor had prayed for Malachi and myself for healing from thrush those years ago, and God had done it.

I am blessed, and in awe of God’s hand to lead, His heart to heal, and  His grace to allow us to experience His movement on earth as it is in heaven.

So I stand there in awe.  And thankfulness. Thankful to a Jesus who

“surely took up our infirmities, and carried our sorrows…

the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,

and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5)

Thankful that He has given us his Spirit, who speaks to us

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,

“This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)

And thankful for the Word of God which always proves true when we seek to align our lives to it.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding,

In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”

Psalm 3:5-6

 

**Since writing this, the Korean owners have been to our Sunday evening home church services a couple of times, contributed wings for our potluck, and the pastor is now being tutored in English by one of our intentional neighbors. Since then God has very clearly led me to the exact doctor we need to see, that is willing to work with Benjamin over the long-haul.  I am so thankful for God’s faithfulness to “make our paths straight”.

1 Comment
  • Anne McDougall on November 19, 2015

    Kimberly I love your recounting of God’s faithfulness in your everyday life. He does care for what seems like minutiae. Those hairs on the head, those sparrows in the tree. But oh how encouraging to see His careful hand and eye in the details of your life. I need to acknowledge Him in all my ways and WATCH Him straighten my paths! Thank you

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