Day by day, life passes in an ordinary fashion, usually without remarkable, visible answers to prayers. Still, we pray and trust that God hears us. Or perhaps sometimes it feels like no one is listening.
There is nothing in the Bible about giving God a deadline. Instead, he has told us to preserve and not to give up hope. “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).
There is also the “The Parable of the Widow and the Unjust Judge” in Luke 18:1-8 when Jesus “told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.“ The widow kept asking the judge for justice, He was finally worn down and relented.
“And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? “
To be honest, I have some intentions that seem like God is delaying long. Yet, I know my timeline isn’t his timeline, so I keep trusting God’s promise: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7).
God has surprised me at times, however, with immediate answers that reveal clearly that he hears and answers everything. One of my favorite stories of answered prayer happened one October morning in 2010. I attended Mass at St. Mary's in Bismarck and had admired the beautiful Sacred Heart statue at the back of church. I thought it would be nice to have such a statue. If there’s an unwanted Sacred Heart statue somewhere, perhaps stored away and forgotten, I would sure like it, I told God. I was expressing a desire, thinking anything is possible, but not really expecting anything to come of it.
An hour later, back home, a woman that I had not heard from in years called. She told me that a warehouse in the nearby town of Washburn, where she ran a bed-and-breakfast, was getting sold and they were getting rid of everything inside of it. “There are a lot of large statues,” she said. “Would you be interested in any of them?” The woman was not even Catholic but felt the statues should have a home, so she had rescued them.
I asked if there was a Sacred Heart statue. There were two. There were also statues of the Blessed Mother, St. Jude, and St. Francis. “Bring me everything that you have, and I’ll find homes for them,” I told her.
By the end of the day, there were a dozen statues—quite dirty from years of neglect— in my garage. I easily found homes for them all. I kept one of the Blessed Mother and two of the Sacred Heart. With soap and water, white paint and a bit of gray paint rubbed into the creases for a marble appearance, they ended up looking beautiful.
One of the Sacred Heart statues I donated to our Catholic radio station. I have the Blessed Mother statue still in front of my house. Sadly, the Sacred Heart statue I had kept was eventually knocked over and broken, but my husband replaced it with an unbreakable one. The one pictured in this article is still at the radio station.
To this day, I am in awe that my prayer—which was more of a thought—was answered in such an amazing way. It was a divine surprise and a sign of just how personal our relationship with God is. Not only does he have every hair on our heads counted, he also hears our every thought and prayer.