A foolish mistake — or was it?


By Allyn Schuyler

Special to The PREVIEW

Years ago, I made an epic fool out of myself. I called to check on an ill friend and asked her if she needed anything.

“Milk!” she said, excitedly. “I would really appreciate it if you could stop by the store for me.” Happy to do this little thing for her, I hurriedly jumped into the car.

The milk was put away and I stayed to visit a while. Before I left, I asked her if I could pray with her. She agreed and I was, once again, so honored to serve her in this way.

If you know me, you know I love to pray. So, I prayed fervently for her healing. I called out to my God, the all-mighty King of the universe, the Great Healer. Swept up in my sweet communion with Jesus, I interceded for my friend with all my heart. Right in the middle of my prayer, however, my sweet friend broke in with her own supplication.

To my surprise, she didn’t pray for healing. She was telling her sweet father and friend, Jesus, that she was ready to come home. She prayed that her life had been pleasing to him and thanked Him for always keeping His promises to her. As she prayed, my heart sank because I felt that I had failed my friend when she needed me most.

My friend was tired by then and I only stayed a few more minutes. She was in and out of clarity and talked about a prodigal daughter that I didn’t know existed. When she fell asleep I left and never saw her again. She passed away a few days later.

This humbling experience bothered me for a very long time. I was so ashamed that I had bulldozed into my friend’s final hours and disturbed her by praying for what I wanted, without consideration for what she needed. It continued to haunt me, filled me with guilt and stole my joy every time the memory surfaced.

One day, frustrated with this unpleasant memory, I asked Jesus to free me from this burden. A moment later I remembered my friend’s dying prayer that her daughter would turn her life around and come back to the Lord. At the time it happened, I was so focused on myself that I hadn’t given that very important detail a second thought. But after my prayer her name popped into my head and I knew what I had to do.

From that day on, I’ve been praying for this woman I will never meet. I’ve long since moved away from my friend’s family and I don’t know her daughter’s married name. But when I pray for those the Lord has given me, I pray for my friend’s daughter, just as I believe her mother would want me to.

My embarrassment and guilt are gone, and I learned a lesson about bulldozing into a situation without the Spirit’s guidance. I give God the glory for, all I know, He has already answered my friend’s prayer. I also know that I will not stop praying for her, because I truly believe this is what I was meant to do. I am honored to pick up my friend’s mantel.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” — Galatians 6:2.