My friend Dayle came over with a report she was bursting to share.
Every year she directs a summer Bible school camp for 80 children. She recently lost a CD with all the information she needs for the event, and looked high and low for it. On Saturday she finally hunkered down in prayer in the name of Jesus, expressing confidence that He would answer. Then she stood up and walked to a metal cookie canister across the room and opened it. Inside was the disc. A five-second answer to prayer, she told me.
Then she went to the Saturday women's prayer meeting at church and learned that Abington Memorial Hospital, our local medical mecca, had decided to stop performing abortions. Dayle and others have been praying for 35 years for this to happen, and I have participated in a few vigils picketing the facility. It seems the institution will be merging with nearby Redeemer Hospital, which is Catholic and does not perform abortions. As part of the deal, Abington will follow Redeemer's policy.
Dayle's joy, apart from the answers to specific prayers, was the lesson about prayer in general-that sometimes God answers in five seconds and sometimes He answers in 35 years. But God always hears and always answers in the way most appropriate, taking in millions of bits of data that you and I are not aware of. I believe the juxtaposition of the quick and the long answers on a single morning was God's way to teach this to Dayle. And to me.