The following is an email I received from Rebekah, a lovely woman who wrote a post for this blog several months ago. The end of her recent Daniel Fast coincided with some terrible winter weather in Atlanta, and we were all so moved by this letter that we’re publishing it here in the hopes that it will bless you all as much as it blessed us. For the sake of privacy, we have not used “Ceecee’s” real name.
The last day of my fast was (to me) quite a mountaintop day. To provide the context, I will need to back up a little.
Our Brazilian housekeeper Ceecee is one of the greatest testimonies in my day-to-day life. This woman is 62 years old, and all of her money goes to those poorer than her at her church or gets sent to family in need back in Brazil. I really should just keep a Ceecee journal—each week God uses her both to speak to me, and frankly, to humble me.
This woman has the most tremendous faith, and such a living relationship with God. Ceecee is in constant communication with Him – always praying, always hoping, always trusting. Truly. And in such a childlike way. She has a huge personality, and feels everything in big ways. She’ll just burst out “Thanks God!” with one or two hands raised toward Him. She prays for all of her clients to be saved, to know Jesus. And when adversity strikes, she says, “God is in control. I will trust Him.”
Physically, Ceecee doesn’t do well in the cold. And even in great weather conditions, her driving is terrible.
So, the snow storm comes. But I didn’t worry about Ceecee because Tuesday is her early day with someone else, and she’s always done by lunch. Also, I figured with the weather forecast that she would have just cancelled that day. So, I didn’t have her on my list to check in and make sure she was okay. But as the stories about people trapped for hours got worse and worse, I was just distressed. I kept stopping and praying, “Lord, please protect all of the people who are out trapped out there, separated from their families, hungry and thirsty.” And during the night, a few times I awakened, checked the news and saw that nothing had improved. So I would pray again and go back to sleep.
The two days later the Lord prompted me to check on Ceecee. I texted her, apologizing for not checking sooner, and wrote to make sure she had not been stuck in the snow. She texted back that she had been stuck for 18 hours, and it had been awful, but God had sent the angels for her.
The next day she came to work and was quite emotional, still a bit traumatized. She told me how she left her Tuesday morning appointment a little late, at noon, and it took her 6 hours just to get to I-75. She got on I-75 and got stuck a few miles further up.
She was supposed to be at her church for prayer. They were in the midst of a congregational Daniel fast and were going to completely fast that evening while praying. Ceecee called her pastor to tell him she was stuck and to ask for prayer, and to let him know she would be fasting and praying from her car.
She said she told God, “God, I wanted to be at the church tonight, but you have me here, so ok. I will pray and fast here.” By 6 am the next morning, her car ran out of gas. She had no heat and hadn’t really slept for 24 hours. The pastor of her church, meanwhile, had been leading the church in prayer for all those stuck and had been checking on those out in the elements and trying to coordinate them with people who could help. She let him know she was out of gas and heat. He called her back to say one of the congregation was at the overpass a mile up the highway getting his wife, and asked if Ceecee could get to the overpass on foot. This pastor, by the way, did not rest until he knew his entire congregation was safe.
Ceecee said she began walking, and her hands were wet and cold from holding onto all the cars to stay steady. She kept slipping. And she was so tired and cold, she didn’t think she could make it. She fell and didn’t have the energy to get up, and she was just praying to God that she wouldn’t die there in the snow. The man on the overpass called her phone as she was laying there and said “Sister, I can see you. Keep going, you’re almost here.” She says the angels picked her up and she eventually got there.
About a mile from Ceecee’s home is a big uphill and then downhill, and it was covered in ice. They couldn’t drive the hill. So she had a mile more to walk. She says she got out of the car and said, “Ok God, it is just me and you.” When she finally got to the top of the hill, she was completely spent and cried out. She said minutes later, a police car appeared out of nowhere. She flagged him down crying. It turned out that the officer was the husband of a friend. He said to her, “I have no idea what I’m even doing out here, it is so icy!” And Ceecee said to him, “I do. God sent you, for me.” He risked the icy downhill and got her all the way to her apartment in the back of her complex.
So, Ceecee finishes this story and says to me, “I thought I was going to die out there, but God is so good and He sent the angels to protect me!”
First, her faith is just continually humbling. Second, I had gotten very tearful during all this. At first I was upset that I didn’t know she was out there, and hadn’t helped her (we have 4WD and ski clothes to be out in the elements). I was berating myself. But God reminded me of my prayers throughout the storm. And I remembered thinking, “Are these prayers helping? Do they matter?”
So, I told Ceecee about my night of waking up and praying and not knowing whom I was praying for. And she just looked at me and said, “See Rebek? Prayer works. He heard you. You didn’t know you were praying for me, but you were. It’s ok you didn’t know where I was – He knew.” I was just suddenly overwhelmed at His amazing grace for my doubtful self. God made sure I had a living testament that HE woke me to pray, and that my prayer had been heard and had mattered to Him. And if He had needed me to be the vessel of Ceecee’s rescue, He would have orchestrated it.
Ceecee and I agreed that God had sovereignly ordained the whole ordeal to make clear that only He could be relied upon. To expose the impotence of the government and “rescue organizations.” The police, the fire people, none of them could really do anything to fix the problem. Only God could have. So, we praised His name in my kitchen. We thanked Him for sending the angels for Ceecee and for protecting all of the people who had been trapped.
That day just overwhelmed me with a revelation of how intimately He cares and orchestrates every little detail.
P.S. The Lord just showed me that I always assume and expect of myself to use my own competencies and resources to help in crises when I hear of them. I was as much distraught at my ignorance of Ceecee’s situation, as I was that she had endured it. I didn’t see my prayer as sufficient.
I think the Lord made sure I wasn’t aware of Ceecee to show me that He doesn’t need me or my “help” to answer prayer or solve problems. I need to be much more disciplined and obedient to bring every crisis and problem to Him first, and WAIT for Him to engineer the solution—which I may or may not be a part of, outside of my intercession.
Where is that cup of “humili-tea”? I could use it.