Unexpected Blessings: Answered Prayers for Loved Ones

The pandemic brought surprising answers to the long-held prayers of Guideposts staff and contributors.

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Photo courtesy Nicki Cooper

Brotherly Love
Nicki Cooper from Plano, Texas

Since I gave birth to my twin boys, Breckan and Brennan, 15 years ago, people have often said, “How nice they were born with a built-in best friend!” But it’s never been that way. Even as babies and toddlers, my sons didn’t play well together. By the time they were eight, if they were in the same room for more than ten minutes, a fight erupted, sometimes coming to blows. The contemptuous way they spoke to each other, when they were forced to, was horrible; neither of them would ever have spoken to anyone else on the planet like that.

I have prayed all their lives for God to break through this ice in their hearts toward each other, but to no avail.

Like the rest of the country, our schools closed for weeks due to Covid-19. I dreaded how awful it would be with the boys cooped up together all day, every day, especially when worries and tensions were already running high for everyone. But then, on day nine, I heard voices coming from Brennan’s room. I could’ve sworn it was the voices of both my sons, but that couldn’t be true.     

I knocked on Brennan’s door and he shouted for me to come in. I couldn’t believe what I saw! There the two of them sat on the bed, video game controllers in their hands, laughing hysterically about whatever was playing out on the screen.      

“What’s going on in here?” I asked in shock.     

“Just having fun,” Breckan said.      

“That’s great!” I told them, and then I closed the door and prayed. “God, please let this be the beginning of a new relationship for my boys. Let them learn to love each other.”  The next day I found them in the front yard tossing a baseball back and forth. A couple of days later, I caught a glimpse of my sons showing each other tricks on the trampoline in the backyard.

For the first time in 15 years, there’s not only peace in our house, but joy and laughter; my twins have become friends after a lifetime of enmity. God has granted our family a true miracle in this time of crisis, the much longed-for and unexpected blessing of love between my sons, at last.

A Prayer for Healing
Jeannie Hughes from Hurricane, West Virginia

For most of my husband Roger’s and my marriage, we kept our focus firmly on our relationship as the top priority. Not him, not me, but us. Then, ten years ago, Roger was diagnosed with cancer—Stage 4 metastatic melanoma. Initially, he was given no chance of survival, but then his doctors told us about an experimental treatment in Pittsburgh. We were devastated and desperate, so we made the weekly four-hour trips to the treatment center from our home in Hurricane, West Virginia. There, they gave him a two percent chance of survival. Roger looked at me and said, “I’ll be in that two percent.” His ongoing treatment meant he needed a caregiver—me.

The first few months, I didn’t think I could handle the arduous job of caring for him, either physically or emotionally; Roger didn’t seem to understand what a huge adjustment it was to go from being his wife to being his caregiver.

The great news was that after that year, Roger’s scans showed no evidence of the cancer. The not-so-great news was that his illness had taken a huge toll on our relationship, despite our daily prayers. Roger immersed himself more in his work and I stayed busy with my own tasks and interests. When the pandemic broke, Roger was told to work from home, suddenly forcing us to together again, and although that could have been a recipe for disaster, it became an enormous blessing for us both.

Now we eat lunch together every day, and in the evenings, we take a long walk and then watch a movie. “I feel closer to you than ever,” Roger says, and I feel the same way.  After all those years fraught with tension, God has granted us this unexpected healing in our marriage. We are the priority again.

Quality Time with Mom and Dad
Alexandra Chipkin from New York, New York

Like so many of us, my life currently is almost unrecognizable from my life at the start of March of this year. When I moved into my new apartment in February, my parents came to New York from their home in Maryland to help. Five days in my tiny studio apartment was a lot of togetherness, but after they left I told a good friend how I wished I could’ve had more time with them. Quality time, not time spent unpacking boxes or debating about where the lamp should go.    

But then, things changed so fast. I started washing my hands to the “Happy Birthday” song and wondering if New York could go into lockdown. It definitely made me uneasy, so I did what most young people do when scared: I called my parents.  

“I’m thinking maybe I should come home for a week or two until they get testing sites up and running and we can go back to normal,” I said. “What do you think?”

I heard my mother breathe a sigh of relief. “I’m so happy you feel that way. I don’t like the idea of you all alone in a hotspot. If you get sick, who’s going to take care of you?”

“Mom, if I get sick, I’ll probably be fine,” I told her. “I’m more worried about if you or Dad get sick, who will take care of you.” 

“Either way, I’m buying you a train ticket right now,” she said. The next day I left for my parents.

The first week was the hardest. I missed my home. My friends. The places that made up my community. The library where they knew my name. I also missed my own routines. Two weeks in, I got into an argument with my dad about doing the dishes after dinner. I went to bed that night feeling 15 years old again and completely powerless. God, when I said I wanted more time with my parents, I didn’t mean like this! I thought. 

That’s when it hit me: I could use this period to be angry and sad about my situation, or I could try to make the most of it. Now I’m focusing on making good memories. We’re playing music together. I’m doing crossword puzzles with my dad and learning all my mom’s amazing recipes. We can choose to pour our love, time, and attention into finding the unexpected blessings all around us—they’re definitely there!

Open to Prayer
Roberta Coomber from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada

By the time my son Brian was twelve, he decided he didn’t want to go to church with us anymore. He especially wanted nothing to do with prayer. “God is invisible like Santa,” he said. “You can’t see him so he’s not real.“ He insisted that I not even pray for him.  When Brian was in his twenties, he left Canada to teach at a private school in England. Even with the pandemic going on, he is still required to go into work sometimes.

Of course, that worries me to death. I texted Brian last month to say, “I know you don’t want to hear this, but I’m praying for you.” To my amazement, he texted back, “I don’t mind hearing this.” Now I tell him every couple of days that he’s still in my prayers and he actually says, “Thanks.” This time of crisis has brought my son, who never wanted to be prayed for, to the point of at least being open to the power of prayer. Who knows what wonderful door might be opening in his heart next?

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