This blog post is part of the 31 Days of Prayer Blog. If you’d like to read other posts about prayer, follow this link.
To fully understand this hysterical moment, I need to rewind a few days. I was staring out a window in a hospital waiting room. I had been there about 18 hours a day for the previous week, sitting by my father’s bedside while he was in a coma after a freak swimming accident. We had just received another grim doctor’s report and I needed some time alone.
“It’s not okay, God.”
I knew what I was supposed to say. I knew that I needed to trust. I knew that I needed to surrender to His will. But at that moment, all I could come out with was,
“It’s not okay, God.”
Because really, it wasn’t. I wasn’t okay with the idea of my dad never getting better. I wasn’t all right with anything less than an extraordinary miracle that I knew God was capable of doing.
I began praying once again for a miraculous touch, for God’s resurrection power to fill my Dad’s body and breathe life into him again. My sister was even given a promise at the start of all this. Habakkuk 2.2-3:
“Then the Lord answered me and said, “Write the vision and engrave it plainly on [clay] tablets, so that the one who reads it will run. For the vision is yet for the appointed [future] time. It hurries toward the goal [of fulfillment]; it will not fail. Even though it delays, wait [patiently] for it, because it will certainly come; it will not delay.”
That’s right, God. We’ve been waiting long enough. Heal him. And in the middle of my
prayers, this thought came to me.
Everyone wants the resurrection power, but no one wants to die to get there.
“Well of course not, God. I just can’t. I don’t want it. I don’t want to go down that road.”
The silence continued for several more days, at least until that afternoon in the parking garage. I quickly drove over because Dad was getting worse. There, in that 15-minute drive, I had my wrestling match with God
“Okay, God. You win. I still want the miracle. I still want the healing. I still don’t like any other option. But if You chose that, if that’s what happens, I’m with You. I choose You.”
Like Jacob at the end of a long night, I limped out of the car that day forever changed. Twenty-four hours later, we left the hospital for the final time . . . without my dad.
So, what do you do when God says, “No?” Whether it’s praying for a healing, for a job, for a child, for a spouse . . . if you walk the Christian journey for any amount of time, you’re bound to experience a similar moment. And when you do, how do you handle that?
While there aren’t, “Three Easy Steps to Walk With God Through A Crisis,” these are some things I’ve learned in my experience.
- Give yourself time.
Disappointment has to be one of the most difficult emotions in the human experience. No one knows this better than Jesus. He doesn’t chastise us in our disappointment. He joins in. He wept with his friends at Lazarus’s tomb, and He weeps with us today. In those moments of disappointment, give yourself time to sit with Jesus and weep with Him. Let Him give you the gift of grieving together.
- Be honest.
God can take it. The messy. The ugly. The emotion. Not only can He take it, He wants to take it. He invites us to trade our burdens for His (Matt. 11.28-30). Take Him up on it.
- Trust Again.
This is going to be the hardest of all. It’s heartbreaking. It’s scary. And yet I believe it’s scarier to live a life without trusting Him again, than it is to open up to trusting again. It takes time. It takes a lot of honest work and communication with Jesus and the body of Christ, but I implore you to try it. Talk to Him again. Pray again. He can be trusted.
A little over a year later, I found myself in another van, having another conversation with God. I wasn’t yelling this time. I wasn’t in a parking garage, either, mainly because there weren’t any constructed structures in a 20-mile radius. My mom, sisters, and I were riding to a remote area in the middle of Tanzania, dedicating a new water well constructed from my dad’s memorial fund. My dad loved Africa, and being a part of such a special moment would’ve made his heart run wild.
I was remembering the promise that God gave us in the hospital. The vision didn’t look like I had hoped, but that day, it was bringing healing to hundreds of people that we would’ve never met if God had healed my dad. God was breathing some of His resurrection power that day. He was resurrecting hope in me. It was just a start of the fulfillment of a promise that He will continue to redeem in our lives for years to come, and ultimately one day when we see our dad once again.
If you’re dealing with disappointment, I encourage you, too, to wait for God’s vision. Run the race well and declare it to others running with you along the way. God’s fulfillment of redemption will certainly come. And it will be Good.