I believe in prayer. I really do. This week I was reading in Mark and came to the verse where it describes Jesus crying out loud and taking His last breath and immediately the veil in the temple being torn in two. I love that one thing (among many) that Christ did for us was break down that barrier between us and God so that, in Christ, we can now approach the Father boldly with our requests. It’s an amazing privilege.
Every day I pray, plead really, for guidance in my parenting, in my marriage, in what I should be doing with my online spaces. I ask for wisdom in finances and strength to keep persevering in good things when I feel tired. And I have seen the Lord answer those prayers in such tangible ways. I’m a believer. But what I’m not sure what to do with though are prayers for healing.
This week a friend had a sudden NICU stay with her sweet new baby. She asked everyone to pray and a few days later the baby was able to come home. And her facebook feed blew up with praises to God and how He always answers our prayers. I don’t know what I’m supposed to think about all of that.
God answers prayers but not always in the way we would like. If so my home would have twice as many children running the halls as it currently does.
What makes the difference? I have to admit my first thought when I saw my friend’s request was to offer up a short prayer followed by this thought: She’ll be fine. The Lord only takes my babies …
I feel like I’ve been marked as someone whose requests for healing will never be answered with a yes.
I believe in prayer but I also know God created scientific and medical principles that we can usually count on. But some people defy medicine and science with miraculous healing. Why not me, why not my story, why not my babies?
I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with these stories of healing.
I know the right answer. It’s the same answer that’s given me peace time and time again … God is good and He has a bigger plan. One day it will all make sense. This is my story and how I need to be shaped. I know that answer. But sometimes it doesn’t help that burning question of why.
I feel a little bit like the answers of why God heals some and not others is kind of like asking why the sky is blue and having someone say, “Yes the sky is blue. And so is the ocean.” It sort of feels like my question never really gets answered. Why did God choose not to heal my babies? Because He has a bigger and better plan. True, true … but really why? Well some mysteries God keeps for only Himself to know and because we can’t comprehend them. I know, I know … then what am I supposed to do with those other stories of healing? What is my heart supposed to do with them? Because what it kind of wants to do is believe the lie that God is against me somehow and I’ve been marked as a less-than Christian who isn’t worthy of answered prayer.
I know what Paul means when he says his spirit is willing and yet his flesh is so weak. My spirit knows that God is for me and knows that the way through living with the grief of two of my babies gone is to just fix my eyes God’s promises and His sovereignty and run that race, not to be distracted by the other voices on the sidelines vying for space in my mind. But my flesh wants to know why – really, why? – and remain cynical about prayer and any other spiritual thing I don’t know how to make sense of.
A friend often shares this song from Joseph King of Dreams. The recurring line says, “I’ve given up the need to know why, for you know better than I.” And there is peace in that white flag, in that surrender to know why. But surrender is hard because it is never our default.
Surrender, faith, trust, hope … these are my tools as I lean on invisible things. And today they just have to be enough.
(This post is an amazing read on this very subject.)