Answered Prayer #12860

12th Jun 2019

The hot water bottle

One night in Africa, I worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died leaving a tiny, premature baby and a crying, two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive. We had no incubator and no electricity to run one, and no special feeding facilities. A student-midwife fetched the box we had for such babies and for cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in. Another went to stoke the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly, in distress, to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst. "...and it is our last one!" she exclaimed. All right," I said, "Put the baby as near the fire as you safely can; sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts." The following noon, I went to pray with the orphanage children. I told them about the baby. I explained our problem, mentioning the hot water bottle. I also told them about the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died. One girl prayed with the usual bluntness of our African children. "Please, God, send us a water bottle. It'll be no good tomorrow, God, the baby'll be dead; so, please send it this afternoon." I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, "And while You are about it, please send a dolly for the little girl so she'll know You really love her?" I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say, "Amen?" I didn't believe God could do this. Yes, I know He can do everything, but there are limits, aren't there? The only way God could answer this prayer would be by sending a parcel from home. I'd been in Africa almost four years, and had never received a parcel from home. That afternoon, a message was sent that there, on my veranda, was a large parcel! I felt tears pricking my eyes. I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string. I lifted out knitted jerseys. Then, knitted bandages for the leprosy patients. Next, a box of raisins and sultanas. As I put my hand in again, I felt the...could it really be? Yes, "A brand-new rubber, hot water bottle!" I cried. I hadn't asked God to send it; I hadn't truly believed He could. The young girl that prayed rushed forward, crying out, "He must have sent the dolly, too!" Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the beautifully dressed dolly. Her eyes shone: She had never doubted! That parcel had been on the way for five months, packed by my former Sunday School class, whose leader had obeyed God's prompting to send a hot water bottle. One girl had put in a dolly -five months earlier in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it "That afternoon!"

Helen Roseveare - Living Faith

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