Written by Becky Smith
Almost two years ago my husband and I attended a Tax Day rally on the steps of Midland County Courthouse. You might expect that this was a political rally, and you would be right, but it was more… so much more. We saw no one we knew, and while there was probably a wide cross-section of citizens in attendance, what struck us the most was the tone of the gathering. People were there to stand for our Nation and they did so enthusiastically and respectfully. But they were also there to stand for our Lord and were not afraid to show it.
At the close, the young woman who had organized the event shared with the crowd that she felt led by the Lord to enter into 40 days of prayer for our Country. That was the beginning of an amazing journey in faith. We joined with a group of concerned citizens that we did not know, to pray together daily for an hour, rain or shine. Wow, what just happened? We, whose prayer life could be deemed rather paltry and who were totally unaccustomed to praying out loud in front of others, were doing what? What were we thinking? This was not who we were. This was not our comfort zone.
Forty days. We missed a week early on while visiting our grandson in the Army while he was stationed in Georgia. It would have been an easy out. But God had other ideas and this one was out of our control and under His. Remember the old television show, “Father Knows Best?”. In this case it was “Our Heavenly Father Knows Best!”. We could have ignored His call… or could we? I’m thankful that we didn’t, and I praise His Holy Name for what He has done in our lives. We will never be the same. But then, that’s exactly what He had in mind!
A funny thing happened on the way to the forum… oops, that’s a different story. What actually happened was a spiritual awakening. Who would have thought that forty days was only the beginning? At least for a small group of us that did not feel release from God. And so our motley crew continued on.
August 28th, the date of the Restoring Honor Rally in Washington D.C., which my husband and I attended, was set as the new end date. The crowd numbered close to 500,000 and again we were bolstered by the patriotism and faith exuded by those in attendance. Back home, home to the small prayer group that was becoming “family,” there was still no release from our gathering daily to pray for our Nation, our State, our City, our churches, our people, our families, our World.
A new end date was set for November 2010. Did I say end date? What was I thinking! But praying in the out-of-doors through the summer and autumn was one thing, and a Michigan winter was looming before us. Would we really be crazy enough to continue through the frigid cold, snow and ice of winter? Who in their right mind would consider such a thing? Oh sure, many people have no problem playing outside in the winter and can spend hours skiing, riding snowmobiles, sledding, etc. But praying? For an hour? Was the Lord really expecting this of us? Was this a test of our faith and commitment? Originally from Texas, and not much of an outdoor person let alone a snow bunny, my husband thought I’d never make it. Just watch me, I told him. Who said that?
And so we continued gathering each day despite the cold, the blustery winds, the snow, the slush. And what a fashion statement we each made! Wearing my husband’s camouflage bibs, a hooded sweatshirt, and a fleece jacket I looked like the Pillsbury doughboy on steroids. But we persevered, sometimes huddling in the doorway alcove, sometimes gathering within the Nativity stable, and sometimes enjoying the bright winter sunshine out in the open, but all the while glorying in God’s creation and presence, and glorifying our Creator.
And before long we were relishing in the freshness of Spring, followed by another bright summer, colorful Fall and a second harsh winter. Wait a minute. Isn’t this Michigan? Isn’t winter supposed to be harsh? What is going on? Has anyone ever seen a winter like this one? Little snow; almost balmy temps; gorgeous blue skies; green grass! But then, why not? Our Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth, the One who is in control of all things can certainly pull this one off! It’s when we answer His call, when we submit our lives to Him, that we see His hand at work in all things!