Yesterday as the weekend was approaching at the social enterprise where I am working, one of the staff shared that her daughter has her major college entrance examination this weekend. She would need to drive to Sendai (an hour or so), and stay in a hotel for two nights with her dad in order to take the tests on Sunday and Monday. She has been preparing for a YEAR for these tests; going every day to a cram school after her regular high school in order to prepare for this test.
At the end of the day, three of us gathered around our staff worker and prayed for her and her daughter. It is a really huge deal; and apparently it is also a ton of money. It was special to have that time to pray together.
Tonight I was out with my family and this staff worker called and tried to reach me several times. I called her back during dinner. She said that she had shared with her daughter S. about our prayer time, and S. wanted me to pray for her too! Our staff worker was surprised. I haven’t seen S. in about a year (mostly because she’s been going to cram school every day of the week, all year long!).
So this evening when our family returned I called S.’s cell phone. She shared a little bit and then I prayed with her over the phone. I am not a very confident prayer in Japanese; but I welcome times like this, even though I feel often like an early-days Moses… where the person on the other end is so hungry to experience the reality of God’s presence. It was a special privilege to pray for her. I found myself praying for her sleep, for her to have God’s perfect peace as she wakes up tomorrow, to experience God’s presence throughout the next two days. And that more than hoping for good results from this test, that she would trust and lean into the special and good future that God is preparing for her.
Just a few minutes ago, S. sent me a text (first time!). She said she was getting really nervous before going to sleep.
I sent her Jeremiah 29:11-13 – “…for I know the plans i have for you, says, the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you… plans for a future and a hope…” (Sue paraphrased here!).
She wrote back: “How strange! I suddenly feel a sense of peace come over me. Thank you so much. It has really helped.”
As we finished our texting exchange, I realized that I was stressing tonight about our son’s education. We have made the decision (gulp!) to take him out of the local Japanese schools when he graduates from elementary school in March. We have a plan through the summer, but no teacher lined up for September. We have been praying and recruiting but nothing has turned up yet. One lead just fell through tonight. And I was starting to feel panicked.
But God’s promises… I have had to go back and read these verses for my family. He has a future and a hope. To believe this for my son Owen, even as I can believe this for S. To ask God for the faith to trust in what I cannot see.
I am hopeful that S., and I, will sleep well tonight, entrusting our futures into God’s loving and capable hands.