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Do not our hearts go out to countless people in our communities, our state, our country, our world, who have suffered tragedy and sorrow?

In my own experience, it began as a quiet Labor Day morning in September 2010. Sitting at my round oak table reading that week’s Bible lesson for the first time, I heard sirens in the canyon road below my foothills home. Minutes went by, then an hour or so, then a phone call from a neighbor saying she’d heard on her police radio that the fire was moving swiftly downhill in our direction. Disbelief – I had done fire mitigation on the trees around my house — it wouldn’t happen here, although the weather was hot, dry and windy.

Then as smoke and ashes started blowing in my windows, I got a call from a friend in town who said, “I saw the smoke and checked breaking news in the local paper; the fire is where you are. Come here if you need to.”

Then the reverse 911 call told me I had to leave my treasured home of 33 years.

“God, move my hands” was my prayer as I packed up my cat, dog, Bible, a few clothes and books, recipe box and other essentials. My faith is what pulled me through in the coming days and weeks and months. The amazing kindness and generosity of friends and community and church members helped me and the other 168 families who’d lost their homes to replace needed items.

Their prayers were felt, and though it took me a year to realize that I had been in shock from this trauma, I came out stronger in my faith in God’s goodness, love, presence and power to “restore the years that the locust hath eaten,” Joel 2:25. Indeed, in the years since this loss, I have seen not only abundant restoration of all my needs, but divine Love’s immeasurable ability to supply an even more wonderful new home, church, neighborhood, community and useful volunteer work.

“God, move my hands” and “Show me where I can do the most good” have been my prayers since that time. I’ve learned to appreciate more deeply Jesus’ saying, “I can of mine own self do nothing … because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father …” John 5:30.

What I have found is that even in everyday situations my heavenly Father has guided me in knowing what to say, where to take the next step, what to do, where to find missing items, even “what we should pray for as we ought.” Romans 8:26.

For example, more than once, when I’d not had a dog for a while, (which is unusual for me,) first God told me to ask for one, and then I was guided to the right shelter at the right time to find just the right one.

First the desire, then the prayer, then the answered prayer – showing me that God knows me, knows where I am and what I need, and gives what is best for me to have, so I can grow my faith, share it and sing God’s praise.

As I listen to so much news of seemingly hopeless sorrow and loss, I find assurance and comfort in knowing that our prayers, no matter what our religion or none at all, will bring hope, restoration and guidance to ourselves and to our world.

Carolyn J. Nagusky, C.S. lives and has a prayer office for Christian Science healing in Salida, and conduct a weekly Bible Study for inmates in the Chaffee County Detention Center.

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