Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.” Psalm 37:4
It seems impossible but it is true. It has been several years ago, but I remember it quite well. I was talking with one of our church members and she began to tell me a tale. It was either a tall tale or a tale of faith and I believe it was the latter. It was summertime and it was hot—the perfect time to take a swim in the swimming pool—if you are blessed or cursed to own one. They did. One of her grandsons, we’ll call him Billy, was over and they were swimming together. If my memory serves me correctly, he was messing around the edge of the pool and decided to look in the skimmer. When he looked inside, he saw it.
It was a toad. To be more specific it was a very dead, swollen toad. It had apparently found its way into the skimmer and was unable to escape. After a while, you might say it gave up the ghost. Billy reached into the skimmer and picked up the now deceased toad. Since he had a pretty sensitive heart, it kinda upset him that the toad had met such an untimely death. Now his grandmother, Ellen, is a woman of great faith and she had been working diligently to instill that same faith in her grandchildren. Well, in just a moment, Billy decided to put their faith to the test.
He asked his grandmother, “Can we pray for the frog?” Well, Ellen explained that the toad was beyond help. Billy then suggested they could pray for the toad to be, uh, resurrected, you know, like Lazarus. Now I have to admit if it had been me, I probably would have come up with some kind of excuse of why that wouldn’t work. But not Ellen. She told Billy that they could indeed pray for the toad and I’m sure she explained that it was up to God to do the rest.
So, Billy prayed and asked God to bring the frog back to life. As a step of faith, they didn’t bury the frog but left it there beside the pool…in the hot sun. So, Ellen and Billy went inside the house, perhaps for lunch or perhaps just for a break. After a good while they decided to go back outside for another swim. As they neared the pool, what do you think they saw? Well, there was Mr. Toad… very much alive. They were so excited. They saw only one possibility—God had answered their prayer. I supposed you could come up with some scientific answer like the toad was in a comma, but I believe God just heard a little boy’s prayer and decided to teach him a lesson about faith and prayer.
It is common, I know, for us to try and explain away the impossible. I know when Jesus came back to life people tried to explain that away too. Some said he was in a comma or simply had passed out. But when the guys doing the crucifying are professionals…well, that just isn’t an option. You might say they were very good at their job. No, the simplest explanation is the one that says He said He could do it, and He did. So, I think the simplest explanation for Mr. Toad is that God decided to bring glory to His name by answering this simple prayer of faith.
I wonder how different the world might be if we had the faith to pray prayers like that. I’ve never believed that prayer is a cosmic wish list. I also know that just because I pray and ask for something God is not obligated to fulfill my wish. The Bible clearly teaches that prayer is more about our faith in God than getting something out of God. Powerful prayers come when God’s people align their hearts with God’s will. The Old Testament psalmist said, “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.
Does that undermine prayer? Not at all. In fact, I believe it validates prayer. God is working every day and in every way. We simply need to discover what He is doing and join Him—perhaps in person or perhaps on our knees. There is a world out there that needs to know God and the best way for that to happen is for us, His kids, to demonstrate our faith and trust in Him. We need to pray, and live, in such a way that shouts, “I believe—and I believe He’s got this.” And…He does. Just ask Mr. Toad!