Today is my first day back from a week's vacation. As is always the case in coming back from time away there is much catching up to do. To say that it has been a bit chaotic would be an understatement, although that is in part self-induced. Besides catching up with last week I am also dealing with preparing for another week off beginning next Tuesday. On the one hand is a larger-than-normal amount of things to do, while on the other hand are seven days to use wisely. All in all today has gone very well.
Among the surprises of this morning was an unexpected visitor to the house. He had stopped by, looking for me, once about two weeks ago and I was gone at the time. He came back today and we connected.
This man is someone I've met before and see very occasionally. I ran into him three times in late July and haven’t seen him since. I haven’t seen him but he has been on my mind, because I know he has a problem with alcohol and his name has been on a list of people I hold in prayer over that issue.
I often think that alcohol is a huge problem on the reservation. I don’t know if it is such a huge problem by itself, or if that because I am a pastor here that I am more aware of it. Either way, one result is that I have a list of people who struggle with alcohol that I pray for. Another result is that when we gather to worship on Sunday morning we regularly ask God to be active in this community and in the people we know who struggle. We ask God to set boundaries, to bring hope, and to bring healing. We don’t know what those things might exactly look like but we do believe in asking them of God and trusting the results to Him.
This morning I saw two answers to those prayers. The first was in the man who came over to the house. He has been sober for 12 weeks, which is awesome. I pray that God would continue to work in him, day-by-day.
And the second answer was that he was looking for me to see about expanding the AA program in our community. Our congregation doesn’t have direct involvement with AA but we provide meeting space for them twice a week. Or I should say three times a week, because just before leaving on vacation they asked for an additional meeting day, beginning this coming Saturday.
Or…I should say five days a week, because my visitor this morning was asking about adding two more meetings. And not only are the opportunities increasing for people in this community who are seeking help as they struggle with alcohol, the number of people willing and able to lead those programs has increased. So I guess that makes three answers to prayer.
What does an answer to prayer look like? For me today it looks like visible evidence of God at work bringing healing and hope in this community, one person at a time, one day at a time.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.