When we were in Maryland, we had a guest speaker at our church. He spoke about prayer and shared an illustration I loved. He said that we pray for something, anything, that we desperately need an answer to. He said, let's call that prayer 2+5. So we pray for 2+5. "Lord, please give me 2+5. Lord, please answer this prayer. Lord, 2+5 is not outside your will, so please answer. Lord, we desperately need 2+5." And we pray in faith, knocking and knocking on heaven's door. And then the Lord answers, but sometimes he gives us 3+4 or 9-2 or 70 divided by 10 or 100-93. And if we're not careful, we totally miss the answer because it came to us in a way totally unexpected and usually more wonderful than we ever could have imagined.
The example he gave was that his church was going to open a Day Care Center to meet the needs of families in the area. But when the building was inspected, the Fire Marshal told them they had to have electronic smoke detectors....about 10 of them... in the center. The cost estimate was in the 10,000s of dollars because they would pretty much have to completely rewire to install them. They had a sprinkler system already, but not this type of smoke detectors/alarm system. So the congregation met every week and for an hour all they prayed about was money for the fire alarm system. "Lord, we need money for this alarm system. Please give us $20,000 (or whatever the amount was). Lord, give us 2+5." They prayed like this for a month and they still only had about $300 in their fund for the fire alarm system. At the end of the month, the Fire Marshal called him on the phone and asked how it was going. The pastor said, "Well, we've been praying for a month. We know God is going to do this for us, but we don't have the money yet and we won't go in debt, so we'll let you know when we get it." The Marshal said, "Well, here's the thing. I reconsidered and since you have a sprinkler system, I'm going to let you go with battery-powered smoke detectors. You have to have just as many, but you can go with the battery detectors." The total for all those detectors? About $300! They prayed for 5+2, but God gave them 49 divided by 7.
We've been praying for a job for Daniel. He had graduated from Cedarville and needed a job! Specifically we were praying for 5+2: a job in Columbus. It didn't seem to really tie in with what he'd majored in, but it felt like a good foot in the door that might open up the right doors. We were really disappointed when he didn't get the job (he is on the list if anybody else cancels he could get it).
He has been living with my sister in Ohio. He ended up getting a job feeding leopard geckos. Yeah, not what he went to college for, but at least it was a paying job. But, as he said, that's the kind of stuff he did when he was 10 years old.
Then less than two weeks ago he sent me an email telling me that he had applied for a paying internship in March. He never heard back from them, so he assumed they weren't interested. He pretty much forgot all about that position. Then out of the blue he heard from them saying they were really interested in him and could he come to Washington, DC. This job is exactly suited to his interests and abilities, doing research on North Africa and the Middle East. He had no idea where he'd live when he got there, but he decided to accept the position.
He got down there and was able to spend a couple of nights with friends of ours. He found some kind of Christian classified ads and has been able to locate a apartment he will share with another guy. This makes the rent more affordable (housing is terribly expensive in that area).
Not only that, but he's been told the internship might turn into being offered a full-time job in August. I don't know yet if Daniel is interested in that or not. But the possibility is there!
We prayed for a job for Daniel. We prayed for 5+2, specifically the job in Columbus. And God gave us 77 divided by 11. He gave Daniel a job and it's even better than we could have hoped for!