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My Answered Prayer

Editor's Note: After several months' hiatus, Retrospective is back....thanks to all the readers who told me they missed it!

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

There is a Garth Brooks song about unanswered prayers -- how often we pray for something and hope it will turn out one way or the other. Initially, we're disappointed when God doesn't seem to grant out wishes and we move onward, dealing with the cards we're dealt. I can think of many times in my life when I've prayed... and prayed... and prayed... and prayed a whole lot more for a particular outcome -- and felt such sadness when what I wanted to happen simply didn't. With time, however, I've realized how insignificant some of those wants really were and I've been grateful for the outcome. Other times, I have never honestly come to terms with why things happened the way they did, but I've come to realize I don't need to

understand God's plan -- I just need to trust that He does! Life is so much less stressful when I turn my worries over to God.
Yesterday, I prayed very hard for something -- and I'm amazingly grateful God was listening. This silent prayer was answered and I can't help but look at life differently today.
My husband and I were returning from several days' vacation in California yesterday afternoon. It had been a wonderful trip -- sightseeing, wonderful meals, great adventures, delightful weather. We have some big changes coming in our life in the next few months and we realized this was probably our best opportunity for a quiet vacation together.
But, as every great vacation does, it came to an end and we boarded the plane and headed homeward. As I stepped on the plane, as I always do, I traced the sign of the cross with my index finger on the plane's doorway...just in case.
Traveling is stressful. Some baggage snafus shortly after boarding the plane left me with a rather bad attitude and angry thoughts which I dwelled on for much of the four hour flight. As our plane neared Chicago, I glanced out the window and saw snow-covered planes in Iowa and was glad we weren't landing there. This thought made me smile. After the pilot announced we'd be landing soon, my thoughts returned to home, my children, my family, my community. I was really excited to be coming home. Despite all the fun I'd had on vacation, I really couldn't wait to get home.
As our plane circled over Chicago and began it's decent, I closed my eyes and prayed silently... but very hard... for a safe landing so that I could return home to my children, my family, my life. Hands still clasped in my lap, I opened my eyes and looked out the window. Buildings were growing larger in size and I could hear the plane's landing gear lower. I braced for the grip of the tires on the landing strip... but just as I anticipated the jolt of the plane coming down -- it went right back up in the air and banked sharply. What was happening? We were definitely not landing and fellow passengers were as confused as I was. I turned to my husband, who travels frequently, and asked, "Has this ever happened to you before?" His eyes wide open, he replied, "No. Never!"
Soon we were back up in the clouds and the plane was largely silent. I continued to watch out the window and wait and wonder.
Eventually, the pilot's voice broke the silence and he said that while we were supposed to have landed a few minutes before, as he prepared to bring the plane down -- within about five feet of the landing strip -- he had discovered another plane had not yet left the landing strip he had been assigned to. Had he landed the plane, we may have collided with that other plane. And as you know, with planes, there is little room for error and a lot of lives rely on the pilot's judgment and skill. I feel, however, that God had a lot to do with the positive outcome yesterday and I can't help but be grateful to be alive today. Everything could have ended in that moment.
We never really know when our last day will come, so it is important to look at the "near misses" in life as a wake up call. Could we live our lives differently? Could we be better friends to one another? Could we strive to be better parents and spouses? A little more effort today is definitely worth it when we consider what it means to those we touch with our lives -- particularly if the next time we call on God it is part of his plan that our prayer be unanswered.


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