Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 20, 1999
God answers our prayers
God brought momma as a sign that he will never forget his people
By HELEN FERGUSON
Special to the WCR
In 1956 we were barely existing in a sparsely furnished suffocating hot little rowhouse down in Oshawa, 3,000 miles from our hometown Edmonton.
After four years of being destitute and in a thoroughly unhappy marriage (except for receiving five beautiful babies; four sons and one daughter, including a pair of twins), I thought I could not go on with the misery anymore. Yet no reprieve was in sight as far as I could see; no one from home even knew where we lived.
I went to bed about 11 p.m. and cried my heart out. If only someone could just help me a little bit, but there was no one to help and I was powerless to help myself.
I knew from Grade 2 catechism that Jesus was always with us but I could no longer feel his presence. This night I tried hard to reach him through prayer - begging, pleading and crying for him to change things, to change my husband.
Finally I caught myself crying, "I want my momma!" It then occurred to me that Jesus can do anything and that if I want my momma he would send me my momma.
Getting a little more sensible I realized I had never written to her because I had nothing good to say and she didn't even know where we lived. We didn't even have a phone. Besides, she had a house full of boarders to cook for and she couldn't just leave.
Still I held fast to my faith that Jesus can do anything if we ask and if it is his will. So I asked that my momma would be here in the morning. Now I knew I was asking for too much - for a miracle. After all, she would have to travel by train and when I brought my children to Oshawa a year earlier it was a three-day, three-night trip. It would not be possible for her to be here by morning.
By this time my tears had run out, I said my usual night prayers and started to doze off. But I could feel a smile coming across my face because I knew she would be here in the morning. If Jesus wanted her to be here she would be here. I fell asleep feeling happy and blessed.
Next morning I got up, dressed and busied myself changing diapers, making porridge for five chirping babies under three and completely forgot about last night. I turned on the old static-filled radio and found the station that could be heard the best and went about dressing the babies.
About 10:30 a.m. the doorbell rang. I went to open the door and there stood my mother! I was so delighted to see her, but I didn't know she was coming. Then I remembered the night before how I begged Jesus to send her.
I was in awe - "I said Mom! How did you know? How did you know I prayed for you to come?" She just smiled not seeming to understand my babbling. I felt like Jesus was there standing at the door with us. I felt so honoured, so blessed.
Later I asked her again, "What made you come?" She said three days earlier she felt she just had to drop everything and come. Then I told her how I had prayed she would come.
Mom stayed for about a week and we talked about everything. She also stood as godmother while the three youngest were baptized. Then she went home.
As the days went by, my husband didn't change. We still had no money at home and only a meal's groceries came in at a time. It was still stifling hot, the utilities unpaid, the rent unpaid and for the dozenth time we were evicted. Nothing got better in our lives except for that one wonderful thing.
I now knew that God had not forsaken us, that he knew we were alive and knew that we lived. He blessed me with the courage to carry on.
He also let me know that he was not far away, that we would survive and that I should now carry my cross without another whimper. I did and I felt privileged to do so.
Somewhere in his great scheme for our family and all humanity, our lives had to be the way they were. Without the misery that drove me to pray I may never have had the wonderful privilege of knowing him better and knowing he always hears our prayers.
Sometimes what we pray for may not fit in to his greater plans for us but he gives us or instills in us something else instead - for me it was real courage.
I'm so glad Jesus was born. Being both God and human he is the mediator between God and us. He is God. There is no way to God save through his Son Jesus Christ.