The Baxter family just got back from a wonderful vacation with family at the beach. It was a great time of relaxing, celebrating Christmas, and making some memories. Playing pool, the hot tub, dinners together, Wii golf classic, board games, sneaking off for a date with my wife, and staying up late talking. I like vacations like that; not grand moments but time spent together, where running off to the beach at midnight and staring at the stars opens up sharing from the heart. And yet... one of the biggest 'little moment' of the trip was on the long and arduous ride to get there.
We were headed into a huge snow storm but it was smooth sailing until Charleston, WV. We pressed on, but at a toll both were told to turn around, as all the roads into Virginia were closed. (What??!) There was no alternate route, just told to go back and find a hotel room. We drove back West, but nothing was open. No room at the Inn :) At Charleston they laughed when we asked for a room and told to go another hour West. It was getting late, we hadn't eaten, and had a long trip yet ahead. The kids asked what was wrong. "None of the hotels have a room." "Can we pray that one would have a room for us?" asked Justin. "Sure!" He did, and the three other kids did likewise. Dawn made one more phone call and asked if they had a room. The receptionist said she didn't know. The power had been out all day and had just come back on - she would know when the computer finished rebooting. "Where are you?" asked Dawn. "Exit 48". We just past exit 47. "We'll be right there to see!" After getting off I-64 we couldn't find it, but took a wrong turn up a huge hill from which we could see the Sleep Inn. A couple of people decided to leave when the power went off and so they had a room! Restaurants and stores were all shut down, but Dawn found a movie theater and got us popcorn and Oreos for dinner, to go with a huge cup of Ramen noodles. Yummy! To celebrate, I made sure the boys jumped on the bed.
I'm thankful that God taught them something about prayer (repeatedly actually with some other answered prayer on the road). Did God miraculously turn on power for 80,000 people just because four children prayed? Which is more wonderful, if He answered directly at the moment, or if He chose to act well in advance? Guiding us to a wise decision to delay one day? Using a pottie break to put us within one mile of the only open hotel in a 50 mile radius at precisely the right time? Guiding us to pick up that particular hotel guide at a previous rest stop with the needed phone number? Helping us via a 'wrong turn' to get to a vantage where we could actually see the Sleep Inn? Or simply reaching out to Justin to call us to prayer at the exact time power was about to be restored? All of the above? I imagine that often answers to prayer come by means of natural causes, but God can and does guide us and act through other people. He's not constrained by time, after all. Regardless of the how, I'm thankful for God and His provisions, and for the deep sense my kids have that He loves them. Happy New Year all!!!