If you’ve seen or read any news in the last twenty-four hours, you will probably have heard the story of Nadia, an eleven-year-old girl who disappeared four days ago near her home in Florida. These stories usually don’t end well and authorities feared the worst as massive searches in the alligator-infested swamp in her area turned up nothing.
One searcher, from her church had gone out Monday with a group that included her uncle. They were going to re-group on Tuesday and search another area. But, this guy had been praying with his wife about it Monday night and felt that God wanted him to begin at first light, from another direction.
So, at dawn he entered the swamp and with great difficulty made his way through the dense growth, every few minutes calling out, “Nadia.” After about two hours he was pretty far into the swamp and suddenly he got a reply. “What?” Continuing to call he finally reached the place where there sat Nadia, calmly perched on a log. The news has been playing his 911 call. I suspect that they are a little freaked out by his tearful, “The Lord showed me where to find her.”
Needless to say, a whole church and town are ecstatic with the rescue. The police chief said, “If I didn’t believe in miracles before, I believe in them now.”
Of course, the police have interviewed the finder to make sure that he was not actually involved in Nadia’s disappearance. Those concerns would have been eliminated if he had practiced just a little bit of community and got at least one person to go with him. I don’t know why he didn’t. Maybe he thought that what he was going to do was too much to ask someone else to do with him. I don’t know.
But, I was struck with his persistence. First of all, to pray as he did. Oh, I know that everyone prays desperately when a child disappears, and I don’t know why all those prayers aren’t answered. But, one interesting thing about his prayer, was that it meant that he would be the answer.
For many weeks now, I’ve been trying to be more disciplined to pray for people. For some people, I’m not seeing anything happen and I feel disinclined to keep up the prayer. For others, I am sensing God say, “Don’t pray unless you are willing to do something.”
This guy’s prayer meant that he had to be willing to do something. He didn’t hesitate. The reason he prayed in the first place was that he was ready to do anything to find Nadia. So, he got his swamp clothes on, made sure his blackberry was charged and the gps app was all set, packed some water and food for Nadia (that’s faith right there), and made a plan to begin at first light.
I wonder if after an hour of slogging through the swamp he thought about giving up? He said that he took some toilet paper to leave as markers to find his way back out, but that the way was so difficult that he was determined not to go out the way he came im. I wonder how long he would have searched? I wonder if he imagined an unsuccessful search.
Whatever, he found Nadia.
Lord, make me more desperate to find lost people.
May I pray with the readiness to act.
May I plan with the hope to find.
And may I not give up.