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I have been reviewing my life and writing my memoir as to how God has always been working in my life. In doing so I have come to realize that there have been a number of times in which I had hopes and prayed for God to do something in my life, but as far as I could see, there was no response from God. At the same time, I have discovered that there were times when God fulfilled my hopes and prayers weeks, months or even years later. This has led me to understand that in order for my hopes to be fulfilled and my prayers answered, that they must be in accordance with God’s will and plans. This means that I need to always be involved in discerning God’s will and plans for myself and others in specific situations. Today I believe that more than ever. I don’t expect an immediate response from God, but I have faith that in God’s time and God’s way, God will respond favorably. I also believe that God will do the same with and for you.
While I no longer ask God to fulfill my hopes and dreams quickly, over the past few years I have noticed that there have been times when I experienced God’s response much more quickly than I expected. Instead of a few months, God’s response sometimes came within a few days. These were incidents that affirmed my faith in an on-time God. A few weeks ago I experienced an extreme example of what I consider to be God’s perfect timing, answering my a very specific hope and prayer almost immediately, right down to the minute. Here’s what happened.
Normally I go for a walk a few times a week for exercise. It’s good for my health. However, it’s been really hot this summer. Too hot to be walking out in the sun. And I’ve been busy with things I felt were more important than going for walks. So I hadn’t done any exercise walking for about six weeks. But the day finally came when it cooled down and I had some time to spare. I decided that later that day I would go for my exercise walk. As the day wore on, I kept thinking to myself. “Well, maybe I won’t bother with the walk today.” But I kept hearing what I knew was God’s voice saying “Go take a walk”. I don’t mean I literally heard a voice, but somehow I knew that I was getting a message from God. So about 7PM I set out on my walk. It wasn’t going to be a long walk. Just about a half hour – a mile – roundtrip.
I got to the place where I planned to turn around and head back home. After a brief rest I proceeded on the return trip. I had gone about one block when I sensed that a car had pulled up to the curb alongside where I was walking. I glanced over and noticed that the person in the passenger seat was someone I knew from church. She called me over to the car and said “They’re taking Ruth to the hospital. They’re at her house picking her up right now.” The person she was talking about , Ruth, was a neighbor who lived about two blocks from my house, who I also knew from church. Until I retired a few years ago I was her pastor.
I thought that it would be good if I could say a prayer with Ruth before she left for the hospital. I hoped and prayed that I could get to her house before the ambulance took her away. But I was told that she was leaving for the hospital “right now”, so I didn’t see how I could get to her house in time. I couldn’t see how God could make that happen. So I continued my walk toward home. I had traveled just about another block when an ambulance passed me in the direction in which I was walking – toward my house, and two blocks farther to Ruth’s house. I said to myself “I guess that’s the ambulance that will take Ruth to the hospital.” I was a little confused about that, since I had been told that “they are picking her up right now”. I assumed the ambulance was already at her house. In any case, I continued walking, still expecting that she would be gone before I got to her house.
I couldn’t see what was going on up ahead because of a sharp curve in the street. However, as I got to my house the street straightened out so I could see ahead to Ruth’s house. Sure enough, I noticed the ambulance with its red lights blinking, right about where Ruth’s house stood. There were two blocks more to go to reach the ambulance, so I still didn’t think I would get there before the ambulance took off. But I continued to walk toward Ruth’s house. As I got to about a half block from her house, I could see the para-medics carrying her out on a stretcher. That didn’t look so good. But as I got closer it sounded like she was talking to the para-medics. Ruth was one of those persons whose voice can be heard from quite a distance. That was good news. She was awake. Then as they were placing her in the ambulance I gave her a wave. And she answered with her own two armed wave. This was really good. Talking and strong enough to give a big wave.
I got to the ambulance and greeted her. Her immediate response was to ask the para-medics if I could come into the ambulance to say a prayer with her. They said that would be okay, and helped me into the ambulance. And we prayed. Then I got out of the ambulance and they drove off to the hospital, where I visited her the next day. There she said “I was never so glad to see you come to the ambulance yesterday”. She explained that the reason I had time to get to her house to see her was that there was a delay in the arrival of the ambulance. It seems that the para-medic unit stationed closest to her address ran into some problem, so they had to call in a different unit.
Then I told her what I have just explained above. I told her how the timing for all of that was just right. I told her I believed that God had orchestrated everything right down almost to the minute. Some would say that all of this was just the result of a number of coincidences. I don’t think so. I believe this was all part of God’s plan to have me get there to pray with Ruth – not too soon and not too late – but just at the right time. God was reminding me that he always fulfills faith based hopes and prayers. The right time might be years in the future. It might be a week or month away. Or it might be within a space of a few minutes, as it was on that day when, despite the odds against it happening as it did, God made sure I got to say a prayer with Ruth before she left for the hospital. My experience with God tells me that without a doubt – Our God is an On-Time God – who always fulfills faith-based hopes – according to God’s perfect schedule.
Grace and peace, Ray Gough
Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.
May God be with you,
Patty Perez and Ray Gough