“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9 NIV).
Friend to Friend
When I was eight years old, my prized possession was a collie dog named, what else, Lassie. Lassie was my shadow. She ran alongside me as I pedaled around the neighborhood on my pink-glittered banana bike. She slept outside the door of my one-room playhouse when my best friend, Wanda, and I “camped out.” She protected me from dangerous strangers, such as the paperboy, the mailman, and the trash collector.
When the veterinarian told us that Lassie had an incurable skin disease and needed to be put to sleep, I was devastated. And even though she was my dog, my dad was almost as heartbroken as I was. He could not bring himself to purposely end Lassie’s life, so he drove her out to an old farmhouse about fifteen miles from town for a sweet older man to take care of her.
I never did get the particulars. Did he pay the man? Was he a nice man? Did he have children? All I knew was that Dad had done the best he could.
Months later, Dad went by to check in on the old girl. “I’m sorry, Mr. Edwards,” the old farmer said. “Lassie ran away a few days after you left her here. We’ve never seen her since.”
Dad never told me Lassie had run away. But each time he drove into Tarboro, the town near where he had left her, he panned the landscape, looking for a lost dog that answered to the name of Lassie. Miraculously, one day he spotted a collie wandering around the street.
Dad jumped out of the car, pulled his pipe out of his mouth, and called out, “Lassie, here girl. Come here, girl.” As he clapped his hands together, the dog bounded toward my dad, almost knocking him off his feet. A flurry of fur, tail wagging, and sloppy dog kisses smothered Dad as the two were reunited. What a surprise we had that evening when Lassie came cruising home in the gray Buick.
“Lassie! Lassie!” I cried.
I had never seen such a welcome sight. As a matter of fact, her skin disease was completely gone, and her coat was thicker and more beautiful than ever. All was well with the world.
Two weeks later, my older brother was out wrestling with Lassie in the yard. Dazed and ashen-faced, he stumbled through the door.
“Mom, we’ve got a big problem,” he said. “You know Lassie, well…well…she’s not a lassie at all. She’s a laddie. This dog is a boy!”
We ran outside and rolled Lassie (Laddie) over on her (his) back and discovered the truth. She was a he, and this was not our dog!
Needless to say, we put ads in the Tarboro and Rocky Mount papers, but no one ever claimed Laddie. He seemed perfectly content at our home, so there he stayed.
Have you ever wanted something so badly—hunted, searched, and maybe even prayed—then when you found it, you realized that maybe it wasn’t exactly what you wanted, but it was definitely what you needed?
All through the Bible we see God answering prayer in unexpected ways. The Israelite slaves in Egypt prayed for deliverance and God sent them a stuttering old man named Moses. Samuel prayed for a new king and God directed him to Jesse’s house to anoint a teenage boy named David. The Hebrew nation prayed for a Savior and God answered them with a baby’s cry in a Bethlehem stable.
Isaiah wrote about God, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (55:9). One reason God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts is because He knows what we need and we only think we know what we need.
God’s answers to our prayers are better in every way than our own. He knows what is around every corner, over every hill, and down in every valley. When we trust Him, He takes our breath away with surprises we would have never thought to dream on our own.
His plans are impeccable and sometimes incomprehensible. He is unpredictable, unprecedented, and undeniably powerful…even in the little things…even for little girls.
I wanted my dog back. Laddie needed a family. As usual, God’s answer to my prayer had an unexpected twist, but it was perfect in every way.
Today, as you are lifting up your requests to God, can you trust Him to answer your prayers in His own timing and in His own way? If so, you might experience some unexpected twists and turns, but perfect in every way.
Dear Heavenly Father, I know that Your ways are so much higher than my ways. Today, I trust You to fulfill my deepest longings in Your perfect time and in Your perfect way. Please keep me from interfering with Your plans and trying to make my requests come to fruition on my own. I am waiting for Your surprises. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Now It’s Your Turn
How has God answered one of your prayers in unexpected ways? Leave a comment and let’s encourage one another.
More from the Girlfriends
Wives have been given the privilege of serving as a mighty prayer warrior for their husband. Yet sometimes, even when poised with the best of intentions, the task can feel overwhelming. We wonder: What should I pray? How should I pray? What prayers does he need right now?
In Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe, I map out sixteen landmarks to help you consistently and effectively cover your husband in prayer. From his mind and the thoughts he thinks all the way down to his feet and the path he takes, I teach you how to pray for your husband in ways that are powerful, practical and life-changing.
“I have never seen a more practical book on how to pray for your husband.”
—Gary Chapman, PhD, author of The Five Love Languages
© 2023 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved
At the start of 2023 I asked God to show me how to be more compassionate, vulnerable and to open my heart to love. 2.5 month into the year I had a medical emergency that landed me in the hospital for a few days. Being divorced & no kids I had to fully relay on close friends to come to my aid. Being unable to do sine things I had to be vulnerable and allow others to do for me. God has humbled me during this past month as I recover from 2 medical procedures and showed me it’s ok to accept help…I’m not super woman! Through caring medical staff, praying friends & family, helpful close friends I’m learning about His compassionate ways. We are never too old to learn more about His ways for our current life.
I love this! Thank you Sharon for this message. These last couple of months have been life changing for me. My divorce was finalized after a 21 year marriage and my only child, my son is getting married. However, my life has been nothing but unexpected people and dogs have been thrown in the mist of things that seem to make things not so bad. I really enjoy your transparency and way you put things in a way that makes the devotion so understanding. Thanks!
So far II got “lucky”. I liked the answers I got!
Dear Sister Stephanie
Your start to 2023, sounds like a parallel to my life, at this time.
God has place people in my life, that have emotionally and spiritually supported me with prayer and kindnesses, that I could not expected! He does look out for His own, and He has made provisions for you, also.
I pray for your continuing recovery. Bless you Sharon in your continuing, writing ministry.
Thank you for sharing this! Am hoping some of the same for myself and family and trusting and having faith in God to do whatever it takes for my sons health to be restored and or greater and for me to stay faithful and sane and be able to pace myself as I am going thru a health crisis with my autistic son.
Prayers please are appreciated thank you!