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May 10

When Your Prayers Aren’t Answered the Way You Hoped

 

 

 

 

May is a tough month for me. It’s the month of mournful memories—difficult prayers which were not answered the way I hoped.

  • A miscarriage at three months into my first pregnancy on May 8, 1977—Mother’s Day of all things.
  • My father’s death on May 20, 2011, alone in his apartment except for a hospice nurse, as my family and I raced there from another state and as my mother—his wife of nearly 59 years—was being transported home after an extended hospital stay in another town.
  • My mother’s death May 31, 2014, just four months shy of welcoming two great-grandchildren.

And I’m willing to bet you have some months, holidays or seasons which remind you of prayers that were not answered the way you had hoped.

Even though it’s been years since these sad events touched my life, I still have more questions than answers about them.

Why, God, did I even get pregnant if the baby was never going to be born? Why couldn’t it have happened on another day besides Mother’s Day?

Why, Lord, did my Dad have to be without his family by his side? Why couldn’t he hang on four more hours until my mom got there?

Why, God,  couldn’t my mom’s infection have been found sooner and treated? Why couldn’t she have lived a few more months to hold these precious great-grandchildren?

I’m sure you have your own “whys.”

Why this diagnosis now? Why this recurrence? Why this financial struggle? Why this job loss? Why did they have to die now?

I know the sorrow, I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word.
But even if you don’t,
My hope is You alone.”

Those words are the chorus of the music video at the end of this blog. Usually I write my blog first and then spend sometimes an hour or more listening to songs and trying to find just the right message and music to share. But today I started with the song “Even If” by Mercy Me. I knew it had the message I wanted to share.

“They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Well good thing
A little faith is all I have, right now
But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Oh give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul”

 Isn’t that what we all need? The supernatural strength to be able to sing “it is well with my soul” no matter what happens—or doesn’t happen—in our lives, our loved ones’ lives and in this world.

I can honestly say that even though God has not given me any real answers to my questions about the circumstances surrounding the losses of my loved ones, He has made it well with my soul.

The process actually started when I was in the hospital that May of 1977 following the miscarriage and D&C surgery. Alone in my room after all the well-wishers had left, I finally was able to cry. I know nurses and friends meant well, but their oft-repeated comment had not soothed my grief: “You’re young—you’ll have more children!”

Don’t they realize right now I didn’t want more children? I want the child I carried inside me for three months and already loved!

So in my despair and feeling as if no one really understood, I told God I needed to hear from Him. I randomly flipped open my Bible and looked a little ways down on the right-hand side of the page. (I do not normally recommend this method of scripture reading, but sometimes in desperate moments, we do things that aren’t exactly kosher!)

My eyes fell on James 1:2-4: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Reading those verses in James that Mother’s Day brought me a peace unlike any other time I’ve ever read them. I was still grieving my circumstances, but I knew the God of the Universe had heard my cries and was at work in my life. I could put my hope in Him.

“I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone”

 When my mother was in her last days resting peacefully in her own bed, I put a CD player on the headboard and a stack of CDs next to it—a mixture of music she loved: barbershop four-part harmony, instrumental jazz and worship tunes. I encouraged the nurses and aides to feel free to select and play a CD so that she always could hear soothing music.

She passed away just after noon May 31 as I was in the next room taking care of some bills. When I came into her room, I fell to my knees sobbing by her bedside and can honestly say it was the deepest sorrow I yet have known.  And then I heard it.

The CD playing was the “old” version of “In Christ Alone.”

In Christ alone
I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the cross.
In every victory, let it be said of me.
My source of strength,
My source of hope
Is Christ alone.”

 It is one of the two songs I have instructed my family to be sung at my funeral (in case you’re wondering, the other is Andrae Crouch’s “My Tribute.”) I had not put in that CD and honestly didn’t remember that song was on any of the CDs I had hurriedly grabbed as we were leaving our home.

But God “remembered.” He knew how much that song means to me and He supernaturally arranged to have it playing as He took my mom Home. I still wished I could have her for one more day. Or better yet for a few more months to meet beautiful Callyn Joy and Abigail Leigh (who shares her middle name). Still it was well with my soul.

I know the sorrow, I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word.
But even if you don’t,
My hope is You alone.”

So take all your questions to your heavenly Father. He will either give you the answers you need or the peace you need to live with the questions. Either way, it will be well with your soul.

P.S. I’ve also included the music video “In Christ Alone” below too, in case you are not familiar with this beautiful song.  Alsothere’s a short ad at the beginning of “Even If,” but you can skip it after five seconds!

If the music videos don’t automatically load, please copy and paste these links to enjoy  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6fA35Ved-Y https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lx82Q3nDPc