The weeks leading up to my surgery and following have been a drain on our family… on Brian’s and my marriage, on the children, on my parents. It is exhausting to be constantly fighting for survival–survival of us, of our hearts. Sometimes it seems survival of our very faith, even though I know that He Who began a good work will complete it…
My sweet Bear has been struggling. Y’all, can I just interject how those dimples melt my heart? There is a sweetness to him that is achingly beautiful. He doesn’t talk much about things, but he feels deeply and fears greatly. Those fears turn physical for him, and almost every night we have found him coming to us or running to the bathroom with nausea and feeling as if he might throw up.
Every time he does, he cries and begs us to pray for him, to ask God that he wouldn’t throw up because he hates it so much. That quavering voice and those tear-filled eyes are heart-breaking.
One night last week my mom was with him during one of his episodes. He said to her as he shook and swayed, his little body clammy and weak, “Oh, Grandma, I hope God answers yes and not no to our prayer.”
As heart-breaking as this all is for me, for him, for us to go through, I marvel at the wisdom of a 7-year-old boy. He knows. He gets it. God doesn’t just answer our prayer when we get what we want, when the yes comes.
Even a no is an answer…
God chose yes that night for Bear and has chosen yes subsequent nights, although Bear’s misery is obvious. And each time we thank him for His mercy that he would choose yes. But if the answer were no, we would thank him as well. We would thank Him for strength to get through it and for hearing our prayers even when we don’t like the answer.
I have thought on this often as I have contemplated how God has chosen to spare me, to spare us the suffering of chemo, how once again He has seen fit to remove the cancer from my body. I have had many say, “Oh, praise God for answering prayer.”
Honestly, y’all, while I know and understand the heart behind those utterances, I am always uncomfortable with that exclamation…
God always… always answers prayer.
He is no less good and no less loving and no less God when the answer is no.
I have friends who are fighting for their lives in this cancer battle, whose cancers have spread, who have heard words from their doctors that terrify me. Do I dare look at them and say God has answered prayer for me but not for you? May it never be.
I do not understand His ways. I do not understand why I have been given a yes and they have been given a no. I beg God for them, that they will still receive a yes… but for all of us, I pray for grace to accept His will no matter what that will may be. And I know that it is the glory of God to conceal a matter. (Proverbs 25:2)
He is not unfaithful. He cannot be.
And His final answer is and will be yes for us. I have been perusing the Psalms and Isaiah a lot this past week as I sit here on my couch, and I am struck by how many times God says, “I will…”
My final hour on this earth, whenever that may be is a final “I will.” I will bring you to glory… to no more pain, no more tears, no more sin, no more cancer. I will bring you to perfection, to ultimate peace and joy and love, to Christ., to HOME.
His promises are true, and one day I will hear it…
The final yes to all my prayers and longings…
Until then, may I have the faith of a child, who asks God for anything and hopes for yeses and not noes, who accepts His will no matter what, and utters thanksgiving for either answer.
“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.” (~Shauna Niequist)