Monday, December 7, 2015

Almost Giving Up on Prayer

By Allen White 

When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him. Matthew 14:34-35

November 21 is my son Sam’s 14th birthday. Fourteen years ago, I got to hold him for an hour in intensive care before any IV’s or tubes or surgical scars.

He was brand new in the world. All he knew was the uncertainty of new surroundings and the arms of his parents who loved him.

Sam was born a month premature with an esophagus that wasn’t fully formed. But, in those first 60 minutes, he was perfect.

There was a time during his hospitalization when we didn’t know if he’d ever make it to Kindergarten. Today, he’s in fourth grade.

Sam suffered many complications from surgery. The more we prayed, the sicker he became. It’s not supposed to work that way. We have a good God who is compassionate and bears the power to heal. But, it wasn’t happening for Sam.

On the eve of Sam’s fourth major surgery in the first four weeks of his life, God woke a member of our church, Carol, in the middle of the night. She began to pray for Sam.

The next morning, the hospital sent their oldest and most experienced anesthesiologist to transport Sam to surgery. They weren’t sure he would survive the 12 floor elevator ride let alone the surgery. The parting words from this sage doctor were “And, you know, he might not make it.” Our hopes were dashed.

A few hours later, Sam arrived back from the OR. The staff was animated. Something happened to Sam that they couldn’t explain. They kept saying over and over, “He came back a different baby.”

If God had answered our first prayer to heal Sam’s infection, people would have written it off to good antibiotics. If God had answered our 46th prayer, people might have chalked it up to stellar medical care. But, when we had reached the point of almost giving up on prayer, God came through – and everybody knew it.

God’s ways are not our ways. God’s timing is not our timing. But, we can trust God. He is worthy of our trust.

Sam’s complete condition wasn’t resolved that day. In fact, the last 10 years have been like shedding the layers of an onion. He had a feeding tube until he was three. At four, we discovered a profound hearing loss. Okay, that was it. No, there’s something else. Then another something, and then another. Today, we’re on a list for testing for yet something else.

Sam is exceptional. He’s intelligent. He’s curious. One day Sam will invent something or discover something. God has a purpose for Sam on this earth. Often I think, “Only God knows…” – usually when he’s driving me crazy.

My prayers over the years have gone from wanting a perfect baby to wanting a repaired baby to wanting him to have some relief from multiple layers of issues. Despite all of this, Sam delights in a recurring phrase, “Life is good.” Wow, really? Sometimes I think life rhymes with “bucks.”

When I look at Sam’s life, I don’t have much to complain about personally. Sam’s life is good. He challenges me to trust God more deeply.

How about you? Can you say, “Life is good?” What is difficult for you to trust God for? Do you feel God’s answer is on the way or do you feel forgotten? If you’re not sure how to trust God more deeply, ask Him. He’ll show you.

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