15 Minutes to Play in the Sun

“Mommy, I’m going to go outside and play!” 4 year old Taryn exclaimed as she started to pull on her boots and rain coat.

“Oh, honey, you can’t do that. It’s pouring outside! It’s been raining for 3 days and the wind is terrible. And there are huge puddles all over the yard!” I replied.

“Oh, it’s okay, mommy!” Taryn replied cheerfully. I’ve got my raincoat and boots. Anyway, I just prayed and asked Jesus to stop the rain for 15 minutes, so I can play.”

“But… but… Taryn, this is a south-easter, and you know these storms take days to blow out. The weather man says it will be at least another 2 or 3 days….,” I argued.

“But mommy, I really need to play outside. And I already asked Jesus for 15 minutes of sunshine. And you always tell me that Jesus answers our prayers,” Taryn responded firmly.

“Well… But Taryn, there might be really important reasons for the rain, you know. We live on this beautiful island with all the green, mossy forests. If we didn’t get the rain, it wouldn’t be beautiful like this. And there are farmers here, too. They’ve probably been praying for rain for their crops…,” I replied. “Maybe God is answering their prayers.”

“Oh, don’t worry, Mommy,” Taryn said cheerfully. “I just need 15 minutes of sunshine to play outside! It will be fine!”

With that, she opened the door. The rain was still pouring and the wind whistling around the corners of the house. My heart sunk. “Oh, Lord, she has so much faith. And now it’s going to be sunk,” I was thinking.

Taryn confidently stepped out onto the porch, and pulled the door closed behind her. And as the door shut, I glanced out the window – just in time to see sunshine come streaming down through the clouds, parting them, and revealing a huge patch of clear blue sky overhead. The wind dropped off, too. The rain stopped, instantly. I went over to the window and looked down into the yard. There was Taryn, splashing around in the puddles, laughing and jumping with joy. I, meanwhile, was stunned.

Of course, being only 4 years old, Taryn didn’t have a watch, and couldn’t tell time anyway. But as she had stepped outside, I had glanced at the clock. Now a few minutes had passed, and I heard her little footsteps coming up the outside stairs. I glanced at the clock again. Exactly 15 minutes had gone by! The door opened, and Taryn stepped inside, a big smile on her face, pulling the door shut behind her.

“Well, mommy, I just had my 15 minutes of sunshine! Now it can rain again!” And sure enough, even as the words were coming out of her mouth, and the door wasn’t quite closed, I saw through the gap that the rain was once again pouring down. The sunshine was gone, the storm had returned. And God had worked a miracle for a little child who believed that God really does answer prayer!

Norma Hill

Date May 12, 2007

A Dry Picnic Table

Jesus tells us that to enter the Kingdom of Heaven we must be as little children. This is one reason I feel I have been very privileged to have 5 children of my own, and now a grandchild, plus being a school teacher: I have so many opportunities to see children, and their relationships with, and faith in, Jesus.

When my oldest daughter, Taryn, was a young child, she totally accepted and believed that God answers prayer. So when she experienced a need in her life, she’d simply ask Jesus to take care of it. She didn’t stop to think about whether it was “reasonable” or “possible.” She just knew that Jesus loved her and that He said to bring our needs to Him in prayer and He would answer.

Taryn was about 5 years old. We were living on Haida Gwaii (the Queen Charlotte Islands). These beautiful islands certainly earn their nick-name, the “Misty Isles.” The frequent mist and rain creates beautiful temperate rain forests. Though there can also be beautiful sunny times, the weather can change suddenly and frequently!

One summer day, the sun was shining beautifully, so I packed up the camp stove and picnic basket, and took my children and some of the neighborhood children up to Pure Lake, a favorite spot for picnics and swimming. The children happily splashed in the shallow water near shore, while I set up the camp stove, and cooked hot dogs. When everything was ready, I called the children over to the picnic table. And, wouldn’t you know it, just as we bowed our heads to give thanks for our picnic, the sky suddenly darkened, and rain started pouring down.

Now I, of course, was dismayed and disappointed, and was just about to quickly gather everything up and run to the car for a “car picnic,” but Taryn had other ideas. She simply bowed her head, and prayed, “Dear Jesus, please don’t let it rain on our picnic table.” And then she happily announced, “Okay, let’s eat!” All the kids picked up their hot dogs and started munching happily, totally ignoring the terrible downpour!

Meanwhile, I was standing stock-still, in total amazement. For the moment Taryn finished her simple little prayer, the sun shone down brightly right on our table! The rest of the sky was full of dark clouds, yet a single stream of beautiful sunshine had broken through the blackness overhead, and reached right down to our little picnic table. And not only that, but while the rain continued to pour down in all directions, as far as we could see, our table was staying perfectly dry. In fact, there was a dry zone right around our table, in a perfect rectangle the same shape as our table, about a foot or two in each direction out from the table! The world around us was soaking wet, but our picnic table was dry, just as Taryn had prayed.

The children didn’t even seem to notice the rain pouring down around them, but just happily sat eating and chattering to each other. When they finished eating, they noticed it was still raining, so they agreed it was time to go home. We packed up our lunch supplies, and gathered up our beach towels. We dashed to the car through the pouring rain, and headed home. To this day, I am amazed every time I think of it. But Taryn, a little child, knew and believed, simply and trustingly, that God answers prayer!

Norma Hill

Date May 12, 2007