God Heard My Prayer!

There can be times when we wonder if God is listening to our prayers.  Life’s difficult circumstances can leave our hearts questioning the goodness of God.  Recently I had the privilege of witnessing God break through these questions in a human heart, flooding it with joy, peace and hope.

I sat next to Samuel*, a man in his mid-40s, on a plane headed to the Midwest.  A few Sisters and I were going to visit colleges to share the charism of Life.  As I got situated in my seat, I pulled out my breviary and Bible to begin my morning prayers for the first hour of the flight.  Throughout the prayer time, I would notice Samuel glance over at what I was reading.  I had a sense he wanted to talk, so when I finished my prayers, before closing my Bible, I said a quick prayer to the Holy Spirit- “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful!”  The moment I put my books away, Samuel began a conversation that would last the rest of the 3 hour flight.

“My wife and I have been homeless for the past 1 ½ years.  Hurricane Sandy destroyed our beautiful home and we’ve been living in a small one-room apartment while we struggle to rebuild.  Being one of the leaders in our local Jewish community I tell people that I’m doing fine, but in my heart…” his voice cracked and he paused… “there are questions.”  For the next few hours Samuel shared all the unspoken questions he had lurking in his heart, “Why would God let this happen to us? Why can’t I be strong for my wife?  Why do bad things happen? Why is life so hard at times?  Does God really care about me anyway?…”  I listened as Samuel spoke aloud these hidden thoughts that he probably never acknowledge out loud before.  In the silence of my heart I prayed, “Come Holy Spirit! Come and be Samuel’s consoler! Come and bring him your gifts of wisdom and understanding, knowledge and fortitude!”

After all his questions had finally been spoken out loud, something beautiful began to happen.  Samuel began to answer them himself!  “I’m noticing that my wife and I are closer than we ever have been because of all these struggles…  Throughout these difficulties I find that I’ve grown stronger and more reliant on God…  I can also relate to others in a deeper way, who are also going through difficult times in their lives…”  He kept going, as if a light had been turned on in the darkness of confusion he had been living in these past 1 ½ years.  I sat there smiling and said, “Samuel, do you realize that you just answered all of your questions?”  He paused and thought for a moment.  Shaking his head in disbelief, he said, “I guess I knew it all along and just needed to share it out loud.”  He sat back in his chair with a look of peaceful satisfaction and said, “everything’s going to be ok.”

Our flight was delayed leaving the airport and now we were stuck in a holding pattern in the air, which meant we were going to be late arriving.  Samuel’s peaceful demeanor began to change as his anxiety increased.  He was going to miss his connecting flight, which would mean missing his business meeting that evening.  As we were landing, he whipped out his phone to check the flight status of his next flight.  Then looking at me, he put his phone down and declared, “I’m not going to check the flight status, I’m going to make an act of faith in God!”  Before we landed I reached into my pocket and gave him a Miraculous Medal of our Blessed Mother and said that I promised I would pray for him and his family.  He kissed it and put it in his shirt pocket.  When we landed, he was the first off the plane.  The Sisters and I waited to the very end, so others could catch their connecting flights.  The whole time I prayed to God, knowing He would honor Samuel’s act of faith.  We were the last ones off the plane, and when we walked through the doors, who was waiting for us at the gate?  Samuel!  He was beaming and said, “My connecting flight is delayed!  I waited because I wanted you to know that God heard my prayer!”

Samuel’s courage in giving God the doubts and questions that lurked in the corners of his heart, led him to a deeper faith and trust in God.  May we too have the courage to open our hearts to God and let Him in.

*Samuel’s name has been changed for anonymity.