by Patti Richter
God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. Psalm 46:1 NLT
My adolescent niece sat cross-legged atop her grandparents’ kitchen counter. Head down and fists clenched to pull her thick hair forward, Alana tried to remain still while my father worked to remove a large tick burrowed into the back of her skull.
Dad straightened up and wiped away the beads of sweat from his forehead. The parasite, however, remained unmoved by his efforts, which included the old-school remedies of a freshly extinguished match stick and a pair of metal tweezers.
I stood across the room that day as a quiet spectator, hoping my two young children would stay out of the way. They peered around the corner of the brick fireplace to check on their cousin, perhaps wondering if ticks had also invaded their heads while playing tag around their grandparents’ oak trees the night before.
Having raised six children, my father had experience in extracting ticks. My siblings and I all believed he could fix anything, maybe even save a sinking boat with duct tape like the suggested image on a greeting card I once gave him.
But this time I grew conflicted about Dad’s sufficiency, as I sensed that we should pause to ask for God’s help. I knew my father might not welcome the suggestion.
At that time, decades ago now, my father viewed verbal prayers as strictly for the dinner table or during responsive readings at church. After I’d become a born-again Christian some years before, I tried to discuss my faith with Dad—without success. I learned to avoid such conversations with him.
The guidance of the Holy Spirit had been a great blessing to me, and God had shown me his power and love on so many occasions. However, I was slow at learning to share my faith effectively, especially with family members.
Now, as I watched my niece’s growing distress, I wanted to boldly call on the Lord. But Dad wasn’t my only concern; young eyes were also watching. What if God didn’t answer my prayer?
When Alana suddenly cried out, my father stepped back in frustration. And I stepped up.
“Dad, I think we should pray.”
He turned his head toward me with a look of exasperation and replied, “Go ahead.”
I closed my eyes and uttered a short plea to God, something like, “Creator of all creatures, please command the tick to let go, in Jesus’ name.”
With hardly a pause and without an Amen, Dad grabbed the tweezers and bent over Alana’s head to try again. Then he abruptly straightened up and held the tweezers high to view the tick—alive and kicking.
My father passed away last year, and I never asked him if God’s very present help that day strengthened his faith; I only know it boosted my own confidence in God. But I can also report that Dad eventually came to a deeper faith in Jesus Christ, and he was happy to talk about it!
To you who believe in the Son of God…. We can be confident that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything in line with his will. And if we know he is listening when we make our requests, we can be sure that he will give us what we ask for. 1 John 5:13-15 NLT
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Patti Richter lives in north Georgia with her husband, Jim. She is a freelance journalist and long-time faith columnist at BlueRibbonNews.com with more than four hundred published articles.
Patti is the co-author of the award-winning Signs of His Presence—Experiencing God’s Comfort in Times of Suffering. It is the story of Luann Mire, whose godly husband was blindsided by an indictment due to a former employer’s tax fraud. The resulting prison sentence and restitution took the once joyful couple into a long season of suffering as they fought judicial tyranny. Helpless to change her situation, Luann endured a painful examination of her life and found God faithful to His promises.
Join the conversation: Has God answered a prayer like that for you? Please share!