LORD, WHY THIS TIME?
BY JOANNE PUTNAM
We were on our way to the airport. Our three children were resuming from a month’s vacation with grandma and grandpa back east and things were going great. We left quite early and had made plans ahead to include a couple of errands on the way to pick them up.
Our first stop was to pick up a sports jacket for my husband. We’d seen one we liked at a store earlier in the week, but they didn’t have his size, so they telephoned to another store who did have one, and we made arrangements to pick it up that morning. We had some extra time, so we tried on a few sale items, then we ran next door to the shoe store to see what bargains they had.
The plane was due to arrive at 1:35 and we still had plenty of time. After all, we’d picked up hundreds of people at the airport before–what could possibly go wrong?
We were on the San Mateo Bridge at 10:30, just minutes from the airport, when the traffic completely – stopped! We sat for a while, but we weren’t really worried; we still had nearly an hour to get there. Every little bit we would move a car length or two, but finally everything just came to a halt.
There we sat, and sat, and sat. I was getting more and more anxious and by the time 11:15 rolled around, I was in tears. I knew that the two youngest children would be okay, but I was worried about the oldest. I was afraid she would panic when she realized we weren’t there to pick them up. I had been praying, but my prayers became more earnest as it drew closer to their arrival time.
All I could think of was, “How could this be happening? Of all the people we’d ever picked up at the airport before, these were the most important to us! Lord, why this time? Why was it happening to them?”
I kept asking my husband to walk ahead to see if he could find a phone to at least call the airport and tell them what had happened to us. Finally I convinced him to go in search of a phone in someone’s car. By that time it was after 11:30 and we had seen a plane fly overhead we were sure was theirs. I really began to cry, just thinking of them landing and not seeing mommy or daddy there–wondering what they would think.
It was beginning to get stuffy in the car and there was nothing I could accomplish by sitting there, so I got out to join all of the others that were out of their cars enjoying the crisp breeze in an attempt to air out their frustrations. Just as I got out, the man in the car parked beside ours, spoke up, “Boy, I pity anyone who’s on their way to the airport to pick someone up!” I immediately spoke up, “That’s us! We’re on our way to pick up our children who have been gone for a month, and we’re sure they’ve already landed!” I was nearly in tears again. At that moment he looked me straight in the face and asked, “Do they know how to pray?”
When he said that, the Lord touched me in the most miraculous way! He lifted all of that anxiety and fear and gave me the sweetest peace and comfort! I responded with, “Yes, they do know how to pray!” And in my heart I rejoiced because I had prepared them for this very situation a long time before it ever happened.
About that time, Brother Putnam sent word back to me that he had found a phone, and that the children had landed safely and were with the staff of the airline. He had found a kind man who was willing to drive him all of the way to the airport should we get separated from each other in the confusion of the traffic jam.
Traffic finally broke and we arrived at the airport at about 12:30 to find three tired, but excited children. The first thing they said was, Where were you?” The second thing was, We weren’t scared, we prayed and we knew you were coming!”
What a lesson the Lord impressed upon me that day; the awesome responsibility that we, as parents, have to teach our children to serve God for themselves.
Scripturally we are told over and over to teach our children the faith diligently, and that we do so by example as well as experience.
“Gather the people together . . . that their children which have not known anything may hear” (Deuteronomy 31:12-13).
“Come ye children, hearken to me, I win teach you the fear of the Lord” (Psalm 34: 11).
“My son, forget not my law, but let shine heart keep my commandments” (Proverbs 3:1).
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (II Timothy 3:15).
We need to teach our children how to pray, and we should rejoice with them in their answered prayers.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY WISCONSIN DISTRICT NEWS, JUNE/JULY, 1995, PAGE 2. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.