I lost my only brother this week.
I prayed that God would heal him. I believed that God would heal him.
For over a year I’ve been writing about promises of faith throughout the Word of God. And I stood on every single one during my brother’s illness. I knew that God was able to heal him. I knew that fact with every fiber of my being.
With every negative medical report or turn for the worse, my faith never wavered. And I rejoiced in confidence with every good report from the doctors treating him. I fasted and prayed with my mother and sisters every day, waiting for my brother to recover.
On Resurrection Sunday, I spent the day joyfully commemorating Jesus rising from His grave, and I declared that because He woke up, my brother would too.
But on that Sunday evening, my brother took a turn for the worse. We’d been here before; it was time to start fervently praying and interceding for him again. I called my daughters downstairs, and along with my husband, we knelt in our family room and cried out for the Lord to save him. Surely, He would again respond to our collective intercession.
That’s what His word said, for us to come boldly before His throne to obtain mercy and find grace in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16). We were in desperate need of his mercy and grace!
While we were pleading with God, my phone buzzed again, informing me that my brother was gone. I held my daughters as they wailed in my arms. I was stunned. No tears fell in that moment. I was in a state of shock.
God didn’t answer my prayers, even though I prayed, I fasted, I declared and stood on His Word! I fought off fear throughout his sickness. I did everything spiritually that I knew to do. And yet my brother was still gone.
I had nothing to say to God. I didn’t want to pray; He hadn’t answered me anyway. No early morning prayer line, no daily devotional, no music – I just sat in my disappointment.
I still loved God, and still trusted Him, but He let me down and I had no words for Him. No praise, no adoration. I knew He was good. I had spoken a message previously, sharing that even through life’s disappointments, God was still good. Once again, it was testing time, to gauge if I truly believed the words I shared.
He wasn’t only good when He answered our prayers or blessed us the way we desired. If we believed He was good, then He was good all the time, even in our disappointment.
After a couple of days, my youngest daughter came into my room, laid next to me on my bed and asked, “Why did God have to take Uncle Ty?” I was still struggling with this question; how was I supposed to explain it to a twelve-year-old?
I thought a bit and gave her my interpretation on a message of comfort I heard six years earlier when my brother-in-law passed away unexpectedly.
I shared that when we got to heaven, that would be our new life, and we would live there forever. I told her that life on earth was just temporary, like a pregnancy. And that when someone died on earth, it was like their birthdate in heaven.
I explained that in the same way we welcomed her to our family on the day she was born, Jesus welcomed and held Tyrone when he woke up in heaven, and then handed him to God, and then our grandparents, and the rest of our relatives that left earth before us.
I contemplated aloud that he also probably met his niece or nephew, the baby that I miscarried before she was born. And that thought brought a quiet smile to both our faces.
Kass nodded her head as she took it all in. I asked her if that helped and she replied, “sort of”. So, I shared a personal story to help her further understand.
I told her about a virus that her older sister contracted before Kass was born, that gave her a bad case of diarrhea. Kennedi was about 18 months old. We had a morning tradition of bringing her into our bed where she enjoyed her sippy cup of milk shortly after waking up.
During her illness, we had been instructed not to give her milk, and instead replace it with Pedialyte so she wouldn’t become dehydrated.
I remember she would ask for her milk and just cry and cry and cry when we wouldn’t give it to her. I imagined her thinking – “Why won’t they give me my milk? They always give me my milk – don’t they love me?” But as her parent, I knew that milk would now harm her, instead of benefitting her.
I shared with Kass that sometimes God says no to something we really want, something we may even think we deserve, that we may think is good for us. And we really can’t understand why He would deny our prayer request.
But the same way that I withheld Kennedi’s milk from her, God may not always give us the things we ask for, because He knows better than we do. He can see the overall picture when we cannot. But we must remember that He is our loving Father, and everything He does is for our good, even when we can’t understand or comprehend it.
Kennedi in her infantile state couldn’t understand my choice to withhold her milk, just like I couldn’t understand God’s decision not to answer my prayer for my brother the way I wanted Him to. But He knew best.
As I comforted my daughter, God in His gracious way comforted me (2 Corinthians 1:4). God answered our prayers, just not the way we expected Him to.
In heaven, Tyrone is healed completely. Even from the things that we couldn’t see or possibly know about in his mind and heart that needed healing.
I’m ready to talk to God again. And He was always there, patiently waiting on me to break the ice.
Is there an unanswered prayer that you are struggling with? Or is your life on a path that you simply can’t understand?
Decide to trust God’s answer, plan, and path, even if it is not what you prayed for, or had faith in.
Feel free to respond in the comments section… and share this story with someone in your life that could use the encouragement.
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