Will He say yes or no?

Do you ever wonder how God decides what prayer requests get a YES from Him?

Over the years of doing hospice care I have seen many prayers not get answered the way those praying hoped they would. And then there are those that survive the death they faced and their life is marked as a miracle.

In the Bible, the biggest battle David ever fought wasn’t against Goliath, instead it was on his knees pleading God to spare the life of his 2-year-old son. God said no. In the New Testament, we are told the story of how days after Lazarus died, Jesus was met by his friends’ grieving sister Mary. She told Him of her belief that had Jesus been present, her brother wouldn’t have died. She didn’t even ask and with Jesus’ spoken words, Lazarus got up and left death behind. Miracle.

Back in 2002, my Grandma was given 3-24 hours to live. Our family gathered around her bed ready to say our goodbyes, until a pastor prayed for healing instead of a peaceful death. All her doctors signed off on her chart and comfort measures were instructed for the nursing staff to give her. But God had something else in mind and almost a decade later she is alive and well. The newspaper named her “The Miracle on Sewell Street” and the TV station did an interview with her. Her primary doctor actually wrote “miracle” on her chart and the nurses said they had never seen anything like it. God gave us a yes. And since then she is hosting Bible studies in her home and got baptized at the age of 80.

So why does God spare some and allow others to go?

Like my sweet little almost 9-year-old friend Matthew who I used to take care of and love on during the weekends. Or chubby cheeked Kaden who at 3 years old had brain cancer. Or Bruce whose great grandsons will only hear about the Godly man he was. Or Andrew, an avid skateboarder at 12 years old, diagnosed with brain cancer in August–in heaven by December.

Doesn’t make sense. Especially when our faith knows without a single ounce of doubt that a miracle can happen. Because our God. Is. Capable.

The God who spoke our world into existence could have told Dena and Steve yes to Matthew living. Yes to Dave and Kristin to Kaden being a cancer survivor. Yes to Sheila’s heart to live out all her days on earth with her best friend Bruce. And yes to the Dorsey’s to let Andrew skateboard again. On earth.                                                                                                               But, He didn’t.

This morning my Mom and her neighbor Sheri drove a few hours to pray over Sheri’s           40-year-old nephew Michael Taylor, who has brain cancer.                                                                                     Husband, father of 3, son, nephew, Marine, believer in Jesus Christ. Looking at his Caringbridge page(Michael Taylor 2), the diagnosis is not good. All odds of survival are not in his favor. So do we just lie down and pray for a peaceful death or do we beg God for a miracle?

When we pray for someone who the doctors have signed off on their charts, are the prayers backed up with a knowing that God is capable of going against the obvious outcome of the disease?

This is an excerpt from the blog of 12-year-old Andrew’s Mom, Melanie. She is not only a fellow blogger, she’s a friend and Christian author and speaker. This blog post dated September 24, 2009 is about a month after finding out he had brain cancer.

Andrew’s headaches are only relieved by morphine. He has asked me to sing over him and rub his feet. He talks very little. He is very tired of all of this. I have told him he will have to fight and not give up. I remind him of how determined he was to learn new skateboarding tricks.

Please pray for relief from the headache. Please pray that the infection leaves quickly. Please pray that Andrew keeps fighting.

Last night I asked if he wanted me to read to him. He said, “Read the Bible.”

I read Psalm 27, 91 and 97. Then I told him the story of the persistent widow and how Jesus used this parable to teach us to keep on asking, keep on praying and not give up.

I told him somehow he had to look past the present circumstances because there will be an end to it. He asked me how he could look past what was happening. He asked me why God doesn’t just heal him.

All I can tell him is that we have to keep praying and believing that healing will come because God doesn’t lie and He is the One who tells us He is the Healer.

Then I sing some more and I rub his feet and his dad keeps cold cloths on his forehead and eyes. We thank God for what He has already done and for what we believe He will do.

                                                    It is very difficult right now.                                                                                     But we still believe in a good God who is the Healer.                                   We still believe for the miracle to be completed.

Melanie and her sweet boy Andrew

WOW.

Andrew didn’t see age 13. Does that mean the miracle was not completed?

 Today, his mom travels and shares Andrew’s story through speaking and writing. She shares about what God has done, is doing and will do in her life. She ministers to women all over the place. Although the fervent prayers we sent up to the throne room were not answered the way we wanted them to, Andrew IS a miracle. And in all her pain and missing of her son, Melanie Dorsey refuses to lie down and let the story of Andrew and Jesus go untold. Does she want this to be her story? Of course not, what mother would, but she allows God to still use her boy and her ability to draw others to Him for His glory. The miracle is being completed each time a Godless soul kneels and accepts Christ as their own because of hearing of Andrew and the faith Melanie clings to.

All the people I listed who lost a loved one still holds on to the truth that Jesus is capable of the impossible. They all want their loved one back, but not one of them has turned away from serving the God that didn’t give them the “yes” they hoped for.

When you pray, believe. Believe God can give you a thumbs up and shred every negative statistic. Believe that the miracle will be completed.

God’s way, not ours.                                                                                                                               Even if that means we don’t get the yes we beg of Him.

Please keep Michael and his wife and kids in your prayers. He has 13-year-old son, 7-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter he longs to see grow. Also remember his Aunt Sheri and his Mom Vickie, whose hearts are hurting beyond measure.

I’m thankful for a Mom who believes God can do Lazarus type miracles in 2011, if He so chooses to do so, and is willing to drive hours to pray over a man the doctors say won’t survive. She saw with her own eyes God draw her Mom out of death and that is something she won’t let her heart forget.

The miracle…sometimes it’s in the yes and sometimes it’s in the no.                                               Or maybe it’s not even about His yes as much as it is about us saying yes to Him.                  Saying yes to choose to see the work of our mighty God in our current situation.                    And live life for Jesus no matter how He chooses to answer you.

                                                      Just like Matthew’s parents are doing.                                                                                             Just like Kaden’s parents are doing.                                                                                                 Just like Bruce’s wife is doing.                                                                                                            And just like Andrew’s Mom is doing.

                                                        And now just like Michael’s mom is doing.

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14 Responses to Will He say yes or no?

  1. Dena DeBoer says:

    Dearest Lelia,
    It’s so sweet that you remember Matthew so many different times with your words. I came across another framed poem you wrote about him 2 years after his death and it brought such sweet memories to mind. You are right in that Steve and I have and will continue to Praise Jesus in all circumstances….and even when we prayed for healing and ask “why”…God DID answer those prayers. He truly did heal my son, just not as I thought was best. He healed him completely and perfectly after 8 1/2 years of life and took him home to be with Him. He did this in the most unlikely way, a way, I would have NEVER picked and yet, in those days of dying, God showed us “why”. Literally every day we would have 30 people in his room telling their stories of how their life was changed by Matthew. How they saw Jesus through a boy who couldn’t walk, talk, or see. That lasted for 6 days, a full room of different people every day for 6 days. Then on the 7th day, Matthew went home. God wasn’t done to show us why…because at Matthew’s funeral, there was close to 3000 people who shared more stories of how their lives were changed. So, truly, ulitmately, my prayers were answered, the key here is they were answered perfectly, in God’s way and His timing. Which is one of the lessons I learned, is while I may not see or think I have the right answer (do you see the key word here is “I”) but it truly is the right answer from Him. Still to this day we will get emails, phone calls, or someone just pulling us aside when they see us and tell us of how now, almost 10 years later, something happened and God brought Matthew to mind and they listened to Him, who loves them and pursued them, to bring about a change in them. I treasure that moment when we came home and found you on the couch holding Matthew, you were weeping and rocking him and you said to Steve and I, “I now know what forgiveness means”…it will forever be engrained in my heart. Love you my dear friend and sister…..
    Dena

    • Thank you for letting me be part of your precious boys’ life. Though the number of his days were short, he left a mighty legacy behind. Such a sweet sweet little guy and I miss him so much. One day we’ll dance together again. 🙂 Thank you for teaching him about Jesus. I love you my friend/sister.

  2. Melanie says:

    You have blessed me with this. I had not reread those words I wrote from that day in September until reading them here tonight.
    Thank you, dear friend. Thank you.

    • Thank you for writing these words out and letting us join you in such a heart wrenching journey. I had tears when I read it on your blog the first time, again today and my sister and I both had them when I read them to her tonight. Beautiful life. I cried too when I read the words you wrote at the end of one of your posts of a conversation between you and your husband where you said “I want Andrew back” and your husband said, “And he wants us to come home.” I’m sure Matthew and Andrew are looking after little Kaden.

  3. Sheila Thompson says:

    Lelia, that is beautiful. You made me cry. Sweet memories of tender times, fun times and funny times came to mind. I’m glad you have been an intimate part of our lives. God does get to make the final decision and I know when it is “no” He has a reason. I’m still praying for miracles and I’ll be praying for Michael. Love you!

    • Sheila Joyce, I am grateful to have had the time in your home that I did. I learned so much from you both. I can still hearing Bruce tell me when we were talking about marriage that for me and Gene “Divorce is NOT an option”. Ever. I miss him and love him much. And you already know I love you. I changed my name to Lelia Marie for goodness sake. xo

  4. Karren Reed says:

    I just read your blog for the first time tonight. My cousin (Kaden’s mom Kris Pauli) posted this link on her facebook page. Your thoughts are beautiful, touching and real. Thank You for putting into words what so many of us have thought and wondered. When Kaden was diagnoised we had known for a few months that my husband had a termanal liver disease. We had been praying for that miracle for my husband, now we were praying for two miracles. One evening Bob (my husband) said we didn’t need to pray for God to heal him, he said if God would take him and let Kaden live that was what he wanted. He knew that, that really wasn’t how God answered prayer. (by barganing) Neither one of the miracles we were asking for came, we didn’t get our yes! Kaden and Bob are both with the Lord. God brought healing His way not the way we were expecting. Kris and I have shared conversations about how very very FAITHFUL our GOD is. Even in our pain we still have the peace of knowing that a Loving Heavenly Father is in CONTROL of the details of our lives. Now I praise God for all those prayer warriors that now stand in the gap for us, because our pain is very real, our emptiness and loneliness is sometimes overwelming, and some days it is hard to just put one foot in front of the other. Because of those prayers we can go forward and see the plan God has for our lives now. I loved what you shared about the miracle not being in His yes , but in our saying Yes to Him! I have prayed all along that God would not allow any of this journey through Bobs illness to be wasted, that He would use it for His purpose to help others. After He was called home I began to pray that same prayer about my journey through grief and learning to be alone. When I read yur Blog tonight, I saw in a fresh way that saying YES to Him daily I am trusting Him to show me, “MORE THAN ALL i CAN ASK OR IMAGINE (Eph. 3:20). Thank You
    Karren

    • Hi Karren,
      Thank you so much for your sweet words; your story is so touching. I read it to my husband and all he could say was “wow”. I am so grateful to God that He has showed you a fresh way of saying yes to Him daily. He never stops amazing me in how He gets to our hearts. I am so sorry that you lost your husband Bob and it brought tears knowing that even though he knew God doesn’t bargain prayer, that he was willing to be taken over Kaden. So moving.
      I pray God continues to use your husband through you and gives you opportunities to share your life with other women. I have found out that sharing gives others the freedom to open up and share their hurts so often stuffed inside their hearts. Our God is such a Healer. I will pray for you and please keep in touch.
      Blessings,
      Lelia

  5. Leslie says:

    I came here through Melanie’s link on facebook, and you’ve made me weep with your eloquent and true words, this morning. Praying for your family’s friend, Michael. I still believe in miracles… I still believe in a God of love.

    • Oh, thank you Leslie, you have blessed me with this message. A few days after my Mom and his aunt Sheri went to visit Michael he told his Mom, “I feel weird”. He couldn’t explain it, but let’s hope it’s some healing going on! 🙂 Praising God in advance for whatever He is going to do with this young Dad.
      Thanks for coming by!

  6. Jennifer says:

    Wow Lelia. This is an amazing post and so appropriate for me at this time. We just had one of Emma’s teachers lose her 6 month old son. It’s been very hard and heartbreaking but in my heart I know that God is in control…He will use all of it….

    Blessings my sweet friend.

    • Oh Jen, I’m so sorry of the loss of this precious little boy. It is so hard to understand why God allows things to happen that our minds and hearts cannot even begin to make sense of it. I will say a prayer for Emma’s teacher and her family. No accident your child is in her class at “such a time as this”.

  7. Kim says:

    Love you Lelia!! Wonderful, wonderful post!!

    God is good in ALL circumstances….but man when we don’t get “our miracle” and someone else does…it just isn’t fair. But it isn’t about fair….It’s about HIM and bringing him the glory in ALL circumstances.

    Praying for Michael and all the other families you spoke of as I can only imagine how brokenhearted they all are.
    Kim

    • Amen Kim! He is good in ALL circumstances! Glory glory glory…He deserves it and we need to address Him in the midst of our pain. Thanks for praying for Michael and all the families. I know they appreciate it. Love you Kim.

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