It was late on a Sunday evening and I was finishing up rounds at the local hospice. Our hospice house is a wonderful homelike place with the best care I have ever seen in any healthcare facility. I thought I had timed my visit to avoid the supper hour, but as I came into the first room there sat this little lady, bright eyed and with the biggest smile on her face and the first thing she said to me was, “Fried chicken. It’s fried chicken!” Her voice was hushed and reverent, as if fried chicken were the rarest and most precious delicacy on the face of the planet.
“That’s wonderful,” I said, trying to echo her excitement.
She replied, “You know, I haven’t had fried chicken for at least six months. And at the other place, I told the manager that I would love to have fried chicken. For two weeks I told the manager I would just love some fried chicken. Oh, the mashed potatoes and gravy are good, I get them all the time. But I just wanted some fried chicken.” Again I tried to get in the moment and celebrate the fried chicken.
As always, I introduced myself as a volunteer chaplain. Then her eyes began to fairly dance with joy. “I prayed for this chicken!” she announced with pride and a calm assurance that this feast was a direct result of her prayer. “When the supper tray came in, I was expecting that when I pulled off the cover, there would be chicken soup. But it wasn’t! It was my fried chicken, fried chicken that I prayed for! And I had a halleluiah because God gave me my fried chicken!” Her eyes twinkled as she said, “You don’t have to bless it for me; I already did. I thanked God for the blessing of my fried chicken.”
In that moment I was awestruck at her clear and confident faith. With Thanksgiving barreling toward us, how many of us pause to thank God for fried chicken? Or for the light that was red and turned green just when we needed it to? Or finding that the last gallon of milk is still in the store just when we needed it? Fact is, if you find yourself in hospice you are dying. But this sweet lady reminded me that no matter what our circumstances the spiritual laws of the universe still hold true. God still listens. God still answers prayer. In Luke 18:1-8 Jesus tells a parable so that we will always pray and not lose heart. In it the persistent widow petitions an unrighteous judge over and over until he is so tired of her frequent visits to his courtroom that he vindicates her. And Jesus says that God, Who is righteous, is ready to speedily vindicate His own who cry out to Him day and night in prayer. So keep on asking, and keep on praying, because sooner or later under the cover is going to be some fried chicken. And when it happens, don’t forget to have your halleluiah and thank God for hearing your prayer.