“Nahum! Hey, buddy, where’d you go? Nahum?” The sound of a whimper made me turn my head towards the car.
Long white legs inched out from underneath the side of my bright-red car. I waited until the Griffon-Husky mix slid the rest of his slender body out and stood looking at me. From a few feet away, I could see nothing wrong.
“What’s the matter, Nahum? Are you sick? You don’t look like you’ve been hurt.” The dog acted funny. Usually, he came running to me, without hesitating.
A sharp clap of thunder put my worry to rest. Nahum shot back under the car before the streak of lightning broke through the overcast sky.
I walked over, kneeling by the car. “Oh poor, Nahum. I’m so glad that it’s only a storm.” I stretched out my right arm, searching for his paws under the car. I wanted to laugh, but I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. I stroked the top of his paws, speaking in a soothing voice to quiet his whimpers. Poor Nahum hated thunderstorms.
“Okay, boy. You just stay hunkered down under there. I’ll pack up the tent and our gear. I can read my Bible and pray inside the car this morning. Maybe it’ll clear, so you and I can play with your stick one last time.”
I sang while I packed things in their containers, stuffing everything in the trunk. Once finished, I opened the car door. The wind off the lake literally howled, inflating the tee shirt I wore. “Okay, Nahum. I’m ready to get in the car. Want to jump in and wait out the storm inside?”
Nahum never moved from underneath the car. I slid behind the wheel just as the downpour began. The powerful winds tossed sheets of water against the windshield, twirling and splashing streams against the other windows and doors. The heavy vehicle rocked from side to side. I couldn’t hear anything coming from under the car, but I had no doubt my poor dog would be whimpering with fright. Frankly, I gave a good gasp or two myself.
As the storm raged on, I began to calm. After all, God had created the storm, too. For the past two days, I’d enjoyed the beauty of the lake, it’s shoreline and pristine waters with the sun making the gentle ripples sparkle. Now, the waves thrashed as the violent winds tossed them in all directions. I’d not be doing my prayer walk along the shore this morning.
A quiet settled over me. I sensed that the Lord wanted to speak to me. My heart rate increased as I anticipated what God would say. I began to sing soft hymns of praise.
Reaching for my Bible, I rested it against the steering wheel in front of me. Whispering the choruses of worship, my thoughts reviewed the special time of prayer and fasting I’d experienced over the weekend. I’d come to this remote location, seeking the answer to one question. Did God want me to continue pursuing the paperwork to receive two little brothers who needed a home, or had I managed to take off on some rabbit trail and totally missed God’s will for me?
During the other times of Bible study, I’d just indiscriminately opened the Bible and began reading. I took a lot of notes to help me stay focused. I had no plan. I just read until I sensed the time had come to go for a prayer walk or grab my guitar or even play with the dog.
The thunderstorm lessened, but the rainfall continued dotting my windshield. I started to open the Bible but then hesitated. Sensing God had a particular passage He wanted me to read, I waited to hear His direction.
Soon, the rain changed to a gentle mist, blanketing me with God’s perfect peace. Read Matthew chapter eighteen, verse five, dropped into my waiting mind.
My breaths came in short burst. I felt the pounding of my heart. With uncoordinated fingers hastily flipping pages, I located the chapter in Matthew’s gospel. Tears flowed freely down my face as I read:
“And whosoever receives one such child in My name, also receives Me.”
I read the entire chapter but repeatedly returned to Matthew 18:5. The expanding warmth radiating from deep inside my heart convinced me that this verse represented God’s direct answer.
Yes, God wanted me to welcome children who needed a safe home. I would receive them in His name, and God would see that I had all I needed to care for them.
As I prayed my thanksgiving to God, the clouds parted—like in a Hollywood movie—and a bright beam of sunshine shone through. I began laughing and cheering. Nahum heard and bumped at my door.
“Okay Nahum, we can go home now. Hop in,” I said as I opened the passenger door. I’d planned to take him for a walk before leaving, but my excitement to get back and share what had happened with Carroll had wiped from memory earlier plans. Nahum didn’t seem to mind. He probably wanted to leave in case the thunder might return.
Driving away from the lake, I had not a single doubt that I’d be ready for the brothers, ages four and six; God would see to that. I’d soon discover that God had been preparing me for an entirely different emergency situation. One that didn’t involve the two boys at all.