My heart felt as though it would burst that beautiful Spring morning of 1969 as I stood at the kitchen sink looking out the window onto the front lawn. The view was a sharp contrast to that of Albuquerque with its dry, flat, and brown. Overland Park, Kansas, looked like the Garden of Eden and I savored the greenery and lush vegetation.
Life had been hard, incredibly hard. Unsteady employment, financial pressures and health issues had all taken a terrific toll but this morning my heart felt encouraged and full of hope as I looked to the future. A song was in my heart and the love and joy of the Lord seemed to permeate my surroundings.
Seven-year-old Bill was in school, Renee and Gayla were playing in the equally wonderful backyard, and 20-month-old Janice was sitting about ten feet away from me in the next room with her back toward me. I leaned back from the sink full of dishes and looked through the open French doors, observing her sweet frame and thanked God for His bountiful blessings. My world was right side up and I had never been happier than at that moment.
As I returned to my dishwashing, in my mind I heard the unmistakable words, ‘CHECK ON JANICE.’ For whatever reason, it didn’t seem out of the ordinary. I leaned back from the sink and once again looked through the open doors. She was sitting very quietly, playing with one of Bill’s little Hot Wheel cars.
Feeling somewhat puzzled I returned to my dishes, dismissing the thought. Within seconds I heard the words again, ‘CHECK ON JANICE.’ Once again I leaned back, taking a peek. ‘She looks fine,’ I thought, returning to my dishes.
Within a split second I heard the forceful command, “GO CHECK ON JANICE!!’ I flung the soapy water off my hands, wiping them on my apron as I swiftly moved to her side, squatting down beside her. I heard a raspy sound. Not being one to panic until AFTER the fact, I gently picked her up, put my thumb and forefinger together and even more gently put my fingers into her mouth, tilting her downward as I did. I could feel the edge of something lodged in her throat. I turned her completely upside down, sent up an urgent plea of ‘JESUS! PLEASE help me!’ and gave her a quick shake. Out popped a tire that belonged to the Hot Wheel she held in her hand.
The gratitude within my heart was overwhelming. If I had not heeded that message, my precious daughter would have died in my arms. Why did it take a third message before I moved on it? I don’t know. Perhaps it was because I couldn’t ‘see’ or ‘hear’ anything wrong from where I was standing and my trust was in my five senses. Receiving such messages was certainly not the norm in my everyday life and you would think something so out of the ordinary would command instant attention and obedience. What I DO know is that God is faithful, even when we aren’t.
I believe the truth of Isaiah 65:24 fits this situation very well. “Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.” Before I even knew there was an impending crisis, my Lord was ‘on it!’ He was in the process of delivering the answer to what I didn’t even know was a question. When I cried out to Him, ‘JESUS! PLEASE help me!’ He was already at work down to nana-seconds between life and death as I turned her upside down and gave her a quick shake.
He does have a plan for each of our lives and He will do whatever is necessary to see that it is fulfilled, especially as we place our faith and trust in Him. May we always be sensitive and immediately obedient to His voice.