Prayer. So often it is easy to say to someone, “I am praying for you” -- Yet later forget to pray or even dismiss it as not helpful. I can certainly attest to the strength of prayers. I know that there are many times over the last two years that I cannot explain where the strength came from to get up and keep moving forward -- those times when it felt as if quicksand was pulling me down. Inexplicably there would be strength to take the first step, and then the next. The only explanation comes a day or two later when someone would share with me that they had been praying for us.
Since hearing about little Sarah’s battle with cancer my heart has been crying for her, her parents, and her family. I doubt if an hour goes by each day in the last couple of weeks that my thoughts don’t turn to her – and then prayers for her and her family. It is so easy to be discouraged by medical reports and feel hopeless – forgetting that the God of the universe is in control. It is so easy in our humanness to want to control and fix – when we can’t, we become angry with God, forgetting that we were never in control to begin with – God is, was, and always will be God.
I began reading a book, A Gentle Thunder, Hearing God Through the Storm by Max Lucado tonight and was caught at Chapter 4 – Miracle at Midnight – The God of Perfect Timing. “Mark tells us that during the storm Jesus ‘saw his followers struggling’ (Mark 6:48). Through the night he saw them. Through the storm he saw them. And like a loving father he waited. He waited until the right time, until the right moment. He waited until he knew it was time to come, and then he came.” I know that in the depths of my grief there was an intense loneliness and I questioned where God was. “Though you hear nothing, he is speaking. Though you see nothing, he is acting. With God there are no accidents. Every incident is intended to bring us closer to Him.” It took the Israelites 40 years in the desert for God to prepare them for the Promised Land – a trip that by direct route would take only eleven days by foot.
“So what does God do while we are enduring the pain? What does he do while we are in the storm? You’ll love this. He prays for us. Jesus wasn't in the boat because he had gone to the hills to pray (Mark 6:46). Jesus prayed. That is remarkable. It is even more remarkable that Jesus didn't stop praying when his disciples were struggling. When he heard their cries, he remained in prayer. . . When you can’t see him trust him. He is praying a prayer that he himself will answer.” My biggest hope and prayer is that Sarah and her family will feel the strength of all the prayers holding them up – especially when they are at their weakest points – just as Jaelyn and I have felt the strength of the prayers over the past two years.