I want to tell you a story of something that happened to me in Mexico. When my daughter was 8 or 9 years old, she and I went with a church group to Mexico on a missions trip. One day, my daughter and I were helping at a daycare center in a Mexican village while the rest of the team was two miles away, helping to paint a house.
I spoke almost no Spanish and nobody at the daycare spoke English. That wasn’t a problem for my daughter—she spoke the universal language of play. So I hung around wanting to help, but generally being useless.
Then the director of the day care came to me. She beckoned for me to follow her and her face told me the need was urgent. When I entered the other room, there was a little boy, on the floor, writhing in pain.
As I say, I didn’t speak Spanish, but I could see he had an ear infection, and it was up to me as the missionary to pray and get God to heal him.
I wasn’t sure why they called on me. Every day they fed the kids a noon meal—probably their only meal of the day. It was some kind of gruel that most American kids wouldn’t touch, and every noon every child in the day care lifted up their voices in fervent prayer thanking God for this provision of food. This wasn’t a little recitation of grace, this was several minutes of earnest, fervent, sincere prayer.
When it came to prayer, I felt like everyone there was varsity; I was JV.
Nevertheless, I prayed. I wanted God to heal this little boy. But, the longer I prayed, the worse he got. It was discouraging, and a little embarrassing.
Then I remembered that one member of our team was a nurse. I somehow managed to convey that we had a medical person on our team, and the next step was clear.
It was up to me to go get her. We didn’t have a phone, so we couldn’t call her. We didn’t have a car, so we couldn’t drive to her. I needed to walk the two miles through the village to retrieve the nurse.
Here we come to a problem. The village was crawling with dogs, and I’m afraid of dogs. At least I was at that time in my life. (I’m a little better now.)
How was I going to do this? If I got into trouble with a dog, I didn’t speak Spanish. I couldn’t call for help. I couldn’t explain. I was trapped.
But I didn’t have a choice. Here was a little boy who was suffering, and it was up to me to get him help.
So I set out. I walked the two miles through the village, and guess what?
I didn’t see a single dog.
On the way back, walking with the team, we probably saw dozens of dogs. But then I was okay. I was with other people. Then I felt safe.
The nurse figured out what kind of medicine and what kind of dosages the little boy needed. By the time we left, he was doing okay, and, as far as I know, he was completely healed.
I share this story with you because in life you and I are looking for breakthroughs. We may be praying for a miracle.
But sometimes the miracle we ask for and the miracle we get are two different things.
And that’s okay.
We have an idea of how things should work. Sometimes God has a better idea. And someday, we’ll look back and smile.