Kneeling by the side of her bed to pray Joy was filled with elation. She had come home from a date with Michael. He was so handsome, funny, loving, spiritual. He was everything she had ever dreamed of in a man and much more.
Praying Joy gave thanks to her Creator for the chance to date Michael, to get to know him better. She did not utter the thought in her prayer, Is he the one Lord? Should I marry him? It was too soon for such serious thoughts yet those feelings were there in her heart and mind.
Then...a cold chill began to flood her mind, her body. It wasn't the type of cold chill that comes from a draft in the room. It was like a warning that something was wrong. Somehow she knew that she should pray for her brother's family. Living in Minnesota her brother's family were far, far away in Utah. She had not spoken to them in a long time. Yet in her family there was this knowledge and love that keep them connected, even when they were far away physically.
The chill grew, and the elation Joy had felt moments before were crowded out by this new sensation. It felt as if warning sirens were ringing in her soul. "Pray, pray hard, pray for your brother's family." For 45 long minutes Joy felt danger, black and gripping surrounding her brother and his family. For 45 long minutes Joy knelt and pleaded with God to protect and care for her family.
After 45 minutes Joy felt as though the darkness, the sense of warning gathered up and departed. Once again she felt peace and elation about her relationship with her boyfriend. She got up off her knees and climbed into her warm, snug bed.
As we humans are wont to do she rationalized the experience. "I'm just being fanciful," she told herself. "I just imagined the feelings. After all, how would I know that there was a problem with my brother or his family?" Sighing, Joy drifted off to sleep.
Weekly Joy spoke with her parents who also lived in Utah. Every Saturday they spoke. This was a time when long distance calling was very, very expensive. So unless there was some sort of emergency they stuck to their once a week call. Sometimes Joy called her parents. Sometimes her parents called Joy. Her parents preferred that they call her. They knew that she did not make much money at her job and tried to help her cut any expenses possible.
Joy and her Mother spoke rapidly. They tried to fill in as much information as they could in a short time. Joy's Papa did not enjoy speaking on a telephone. So once in a rare while he would chime in with a different perspective or some information that Joy's Mother hadn't communicated. Her Papa was on one phone extension, her Mother on another.
Joy's Mother became very serious at one point in the conversation. "Howard almost died this week. He has a rare allergy to eating shellfish after exercising. He had an anaphylactic reaction and his heart stopped."
Joy's heart felt as though it stopped, or at least slowed way, way down. She adored her oldest brother. He had been a loving force of protection and encouragement for all of her life.
"Wait, Mama, did this happen last Wednesday night?"
Joy's Mother said, "Yes, how did you know?"
Joy began to cry. "Oh Mama, Papa, when it happened I was on my knees praying for him, and for his family. I didn't know what was wrong, only that something was, and that I should pray."
There was silence on the other end of the phone line. Joy's parents were digesting this information.
Finally her Papa spoke. "I have no doubt that God can warn us and connect us when there is danger or struggle in our family."
The conversation ended shortly after that. Joy was left with a sense of wonder. She HAD known when Howard was in danger. At the very moment that his heart stopped she had been praying, praying for him. Joy rejoiced in the knowledge that even when she was far away from her family, God would keep them connected.