That Jesus Came
By Deborah Danielski
Jesus said he would come as a
"thief in the night."
"Be ready," he said,
"for you dont know at what hour Ill
If Id known he was coming, I
probably wouldnt have baked a cake, but I might at
least have hidden the dirty dishes and picked my socks up
off the floor. But I didnt have the chance. He came
when I least expected it, just like he said he would.
Id been ill and in pain for
months. Doctors didnt know what was wrong, or what
to do for me. Id undergone surgery to no avail.
Id read accounts of saints and mystics whose
suffering served to draw them closer to God. My own
personal pain had not had that effect. I wanted to keep
the faith, but I was more comfortable lying down, and
sitting through Mass no longer seemed worth the agony. I
tried to read the Scriptures and inspirational books, but
the pain killers I took made concentration impossible. By
the time I got to the third word of a sentence I could
hardly remember what the first word had been. Somewhere
along the way my prayer life had dwindled to a couple of
"Lord, help mes" a day and once in awhile
Id remember to throw in a "Lord, help my
husband, Ed, as well."
Ed had been wonderful, as he nearly
always is. But working 45 to 50 hours a week, doing the
shopping, cooking, laundry and all the praying for both
of us was taking its toll. Keeping the house clean was
falling further and further down his priority list.
So there I was that fateful night, laid
out on the sofa watching TV, pretty much as I had been
about 90 consecutive nights and days before. Ed had gone
to Bible Study, another activity Id long since
given up. He hadnt been gone long, when I thought I
heard a car door slam in our driveway. I wasnt
expecting company and Ed wouldnt be home for at
least a couple of hours. Who could that be I wondered? I
got up to look.
I was quite disturbed when I peered
through the curtain to see Ed and five friends from the
Bible Study walking toward our back door. What in the
world did he think he was doing inviting people over now?
I wondered. The house was such a terrible mess and,
though I couldnt quite remember, I probably
hadnt washed my face or brushed my hair all day
long. Was it too late to hide? To run to my bedroom and
pretend to sleep? Yes. Theyd already seen me. I
doubt theyd have gone away anyway. They had that
determined look in their eyes.
One by one, Pat, Phyllis, Terry, Sara
and Nicole came through the door to receive a rather
unwelcome hug from me. Ed just sort of stood by and
watched, knowing Id strangle him if I could.
"The house is a mess," I said as though they
couldnt see that for themselves. "Dont
worry about it," said Pat. "Come on in here and
"Grab one of those chairs,"
he said to Sara, who picked up a kitchen chair, hauled it
into the living room and sat it back down in the middle
of the living room floor, not far from my dirty socks.
"Oh, no," I thought, as I realized what was
coming next. "Theyre going to pray for
me." I hadnt wanted their company and wanted
their prayers even less. I just wanted to be left alone.
Instead, I was instructed to sit in the
kitchen chair while everyone gathered around me. Two of
them knelt at my sides and took my hands, Ed and the
other three stood behind the chair and laid their hands
on my head, shoulders and back. They began to pray for my
healing. What happened next was exactly what Id
feared nothing. I knew this was supposed to be a
sacred moment and I should be "feeling"
something. But God and I werent on very good terms
at the time, and the only thing I felt was self-conscious
After a minute or so, Pat left the
room, came back with his guitar and began to play.
"Will you come and follow me, if I but call your
name?" he sang softly. "Will you go where you
dont know and never be the same?" It was then
that my eyes were opened, the hardness of my heart
melted, and I began to cry. Pat didnt know, but
Jesus did, that He could reach me through music when all
else failed. He knew, too, that though I loved Him,
Id been afraid of the unknown and afraid He would
lead me there. My illness was very real, but Id
been using it as an excuse to stop following and to hide
myself from Him.
Like the disciples on Emmaus Road, I
hadnt recognized Jesus at first. Id been too
caught up in myself. But like the lost sheep that I was,
He loved me too much to allow me to wander through the
valley alone. He sought me out and He came to me
through my friends -- to pick me up and to carry me
gently back into the fold.
I wasnt miraculously healed that
night. My physical healing wouldnt come until
several weeks later when doctors diagnosed the problem
and prescribed the right medication. But when I awoke the
next day, I made my first morning offering in quite
awhile confidently, no longer afraid. When I
turned on the TV, instead of Leeza and Quincy M.D., I
tuned to Mother Angelica Live, Life on the Rock and The
Jesus had come as a thief in the night
-- to steal away my fear. He left in its place a pearl of
© Deborah Danielski 2000 (Published in
New Covenant magazine, January 2000)