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.
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.