A thankful heart is said to be good medicine. Brad Watson shows that a prayerful heart is even better.
Enid stood in her front yard and looked up and down the street. There was nobody in sight, which surprised her.
How could someone have left this letter, rung the doorbell and gone so quickly, she thought to herself, puzzled at this turn of events. The envelope she held was unstamped and her hands trembled as she carried it inside. It didn’t look like a bill—but just the thought of one made her fearful. She could feel her heart pounding in her chest.
Steeling herself to expect the worst, Enid went inside, opened the letter and stared blankly, eyes wide with disbelief.
Hot tears threatened to pour down her cheeks as she sank into a seat, the events of the past week racing through her mind. “God, what am I going to do now?” Enid had asked several days earlier. She had felt like bursting into tears as she studied the smoking kitchen stove. She felt helpless. The big pot of water wasn’t even warm yet, let alone boiling, and the small pot with carrots and peas had only just started. The acrid fumes coming from the old appliance were unmistakable.
Something was seriously wrong.
“You know I don’t have the money to fix this stove, Lord,” she had said. “You know the hot-water system has been broken for weeks. You know I don’t have any other way of heating bathwater except for this stove. Father, I’m so tired. I don’t know if I can go on like this.” At that moment Matthew, Enid’s oldest son, ran into the kitchen.
“Aw, Mum,” he complained, “isn’t dinner ready yet? I’m starving!” Enid turned hurriedly aside. “It won’t be long,” she said, trying to sound cheerful.
“Be patient for me, Darling. Dinner will be ready soon.” When he had gone, she heaved a sigh of relief and congratulated herself for successfully hiding her emotions. It was often like this lately. There’s so much to do, she told herself. I just have to stay strong.
I can’t afford to dwell on things I can’t change—even if they are as bad as divorce and custody battles and stoves that won’t work.
Later, as she sponged her four-year-old clean with lukewarm water, she poured her heart out to God. “Lord,” she whispered, determined to stay strong for the little boy in front of her, “I know You have provided for us. You provided the land this house is built on. Even this home is a miracle. I still can’t believe it was going to be demolished until You showed me its potential.” “Mummy,” Joshua asked curiously, “what are you saying?” “Nothing, Darling,” Enid replied, startled that he had heard. “I was just having a little talk to Jesus.” “Jesus loves me,” Joshua said sleepily.
“Yes he does, Darling. He loves you very much.” I don’t know what to do now, Lord, she continued, speaking within. I’m trying so hard. How can I repair the stove with just $10? It is all I have.
When the children were dressed in their pyjamas, Enid bundled them into her car and drove to the nursing home where she worked night duty.
When they arrived she began the usual routine, leading the children to the matron’s office and rolling out their bedding on its floor. It was already 7 pm.
There was just enough time to put the children to bed, sleep for a few hours and be awake by 10 pm for the start of her shift.
“Are you all settled in here?” the matron asked softly from the doorway as Enid tucked the little ones into bed. The older nurse smiled warmly at the sight of three children sprawled out on the floor of her office.
Enid nodded appreciatively as the older woman switched off the light.
“Thank you, Lord,” she whispered. “Thank you for giving me a job and for matron. I know my children will be safe tonight.” Even so, the stove worried her greatly and she could not sleep. At 10 pm, when her rounds began, she was still wondering how she was going to bathe the children with cold water.
Now in the new morning light, Enid sat, looking at the old stove, with the anonymous letter in her lap. Still only half-believing the contents, she read the short note again.
“Dear Enid,” the letter said. “We have been impressed that you need this money more than we do. Consider it a gift. May God bless you and keep you.” The letter was unsigned and Enid could not recognise the handwriting.
And enclosed in the folds of the single sheet of paper was a cheque for $1000.
Who would do such a thing? she asked herself.
Tomorrow there would be hot water from a new stove to bathe the children.
There would be a nicely baked dinner.
There would even be some money left over to replace the hot-water system.
Suddenly she was filled with new hope and purpose.
“Thank you, Lord,” Enid whispered gratefully, humbled by His generosity.
“Thank you for loving and caring for me.”