He should have died at the scene. That was what they were saying. His first 24 hours after the car crash were to be his last. That was what everyone was preparing themselves for.
So when he walked into the living room last week, smiling, I don’t think any of us quite had the words to express just what that moment meant.
A couple of my housemates had lived with the guy in question, we’ll call him Jacob, and so he was kind of a friend of a friend. Yet, on the day of his accident, a whole community of students were mobilised into support and concern for a lad about to do the final year of his degree. Jacob’s hopes for the future were resting on a life-support machine and accomplished surgeons.
Suddenly, being the only Christian in my house became glaringly obvious, as we sat around the phone waiting for news, no one knowing how they should respond or how we could help. I had nothing to offer but prayer. Yet, at the same time, out of the woodwork came all of Jacob’s friends who also knew Jesus, and suddenly, a prayer network was born, interceding for the student in a coma with head injuries beyond belief and a leg that had been chewed up by the wreckage.
Eight months later, to see the person whose survival we had been pleading with God for, stroll into my house and settle down for a pizza with us, was like witnessing a miracle. But more than that, I got to tell him just how significant that was. I had asked God to one day give me the opportunity to tell Jacob just how many people had been praying for him. I wanted him to know that as followers of Jesus, we believe in the power of calling upon God to bring life and fullness even in the most seemingly impossible circumstances.
In short, when the bible says ‘Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer’ (Romans 12:12) that’s what it means. I want to get better at persevering in prayer even when the odds seem stacked against the answer being the one I ask for. Because Jacob proves that anything is possible. But more than that, I want to get better at sharing this with the person I’m praying for. Imagine if you actually told your mate at work, the guy you play alongside on the pitch, that parent you meet at the school gate that you have been and will be praying for them. I think I’m going to try that this coming week.
We trust God with the prayers he says yes or no to, but God trusts us with praying in all circumstances.