Friday, December 21, 2012

DEVOTION: An Unexpected Answer by Shirley Corder

"When he calls on me I will answer."

Psalm 91:15 TLB

When the congregation came to church that Christmas day, I’m sure none of them expected to hear from Mars.

My parents gave our youngest, David, a battery-operated robot for Christmas. The little boy was delighted with its stiff-legged gait, its flashing lights, and its robotic voice.

Since my husband was the pastor, we lived next door to the church. Because the building was too small to seat the entire congregation, on Christmas Day we held two consecutive services. It would be tough for our three children, aged twelve, nine and five, to sit through both services, so we gave them permission to return home after the first service to play with their new toys.

“Stay inside,” I instructed them. “Your sister is in charge. If there’s a problem, one of you slip quietly into the church and call me. Okay?”

Their three heads nodded, and they rushed off to play. I knew our daughter would soon be engrossed in one of her new books and would forget all about them. But she'd be there if they needed her. In any case, they were right next door. What could go wrong?

During the service, my husband called the congregation to pray. "Let's wait on the Lord," he said.

After a moment's silence, the startled congregation heard a mechanical voice call through an open window, 

"Greetings earthmen! My name is Telbaz. I come from Mars. Please give my best wishes to everyone." The voice was followed by the sound of rapid automatic gunfire and a most unholy laugh. Mortified, I slipped out the side door to find two giggling little boys crouched under the window as the alien visitor shuffled along the path.

Whatever the congregation had to say about that Christmas Day service, they couldn't have said it was "just the same old thing". The following year we held our Christmas service in the hall, which was big enough to hold everyone in one sitting. 

Do we present the world with a stereotyped presentation of Christianity? In the way we speak? The way we act? The way we write? 

Lord God, how often we pray to you. How seldom we expect a reply. Please help me to pray and wait for your answer—but not from Mars. Amen.

SHIRLEY CORDER lives on the coast in South Africa with her husband. Her book, Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer contains 90 meditations based on times when God used the often unexpected things to help her through the rough times spent in the cancer valley. It is available for pre-order at and Barnes & Noble (B& Please visit Shirley through, where she encourages writers,, where she encourages those in the cancer valley, on Twitter or on FaceBook. Sign up for her writers' newsletter.


  1. Children are God's gift to keep us humble.

  2. An interesting story. God DOES have a sense of humor.

  3. A good example of truth being funnier than fiction! I'll remember this one.

    Keep Winging His Words,
    Pam Ford Davis