Do You Hear Me, Lord?
My grandma has been one of the most influential people in my life; I have so many beautiful memories of her.
Summers spent swimming at her pool while she sat in the shade and talked to us. Picking green beans from her garden, then helping her snap them on the back porch for dinner that evening. Riding my bike up the street to see her standing on the driveway, grinning from ear-to-ear as she waited to make sure my brother and I arrived safely. Her joy over the weeds we stopped to pick for her along the way.
My grandma taught me the value of hard work, respecting your husband unconditionally, and serving your family. She listened when I cried and shared my happiness when I succeeded. There are few people I treasure as much as my grandma.
Which has made watching dementia steal her away from our family excruciatingly painful. The disease first attacked her mind, stealing her memories and thoughts, leaving little of the woman we know. Then, it began to attack her body, taking her ability to care for herself and do simple, everyday things.
For several years my grandma prayed to be taken home to Jesus. I urged her to stop praying that because I couldn’t bear the thought of my life without her. But, as we continue to watch her suffer, it now seems the kinder thing would be for her to leave us and be with Jesus. So, we’ve begun to ask the Father to give her peace and take her home to Him.
Yet still, she lays in bed, unable to get up. She receives visits from her family and doesn’t know who we are. Her body continues to fail her, making her entirely reliant on others to do the basic things in life.
Our prayers for her to find reprieve seem to go unanswered, leaving us asking, “Why? Why is God allowing this woman who spent her entire life serving others to suffer this way? Why won’t He take her home to find peace and rest with Him?”
Often in life, we pray specific prayers, having faith that God will answer them in the way we desire, but feel disheartened when that doesn’t happen. What do you do when God doesn’t respond in the time or manner you hoped for? When pain and sorrow overwhelm your soul and doubt begins to consume your mind?
If God is good, why are there times when He doesn’t seem to answer our prayers? As I’ve wrestled with that question, I’ve begun to ponder the idea of faith. Specifically, if our faith is dependent on God giving us what we want when we want it, is that really faith at all?
As I contemplated that question, Jesus’ prayer in the garden of Gethsemane before He went to the cross came to mind. He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36 ESV)
Can you imagine what Jesus was thinking and feeling as His crucifixion approached? Can you envision the fear and dread that caused Him to cry out to the Father, asking Him to find another way? Has there been a time in your life when you cried out to the Father and asked Him to change your circumstances?
Jesus knew the cross was His fate, but we see in Mark 14:36 that part of Him hoped the Father would come up with an alternate plan to spare Him from that agony.
However, Jesus demonstrated authentic faith through the words He prayed immediately before and after His request for God to change His fate.
First, He acknowledged that “all things are possible” for God. Part of having faith is possessing a deep understanding of God’s power and abilities. Many of us have that. We ask God to rescue us from our current circumstances because we know He is able.
Truthfully, that’s the easy part. It’s what Jesus said after His request to be rescued that’s often difficult.
He said, “Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Jesus yielded His desires to the Father’s will.
Genuine faith demands acknowledging God is faithful and right even if He doesn’t answer our prayers the way we hope. By laying down our desires and not only saying but believing that God’s will is always best, we demonstrate true faith.
To say, “Have faith, God will rescue,” and then put conditions on how He’ll provide is not true faith. It’s a dangerous thought process because it implies that if God does not do what we want Him to, He has not come through.
Instead, we should acknowledge God is able, make our requests to Him, and then yield to His will. In doing so, we are placing our trust in Him, demonstrating we understand that God’s will is always right. That kind of faith reveals our correct position before the Almighty, surrendering our earthly plans to His eternal plan. The way Jesus did in Gethsemane.
What’s going on in your life that’s causing you to question whether or not God hears you? Is that situation tempting you to question Him?
Friend, I understand because I’ve been there many times myself. Jesus understands, too. We have a High Priest who can empathize with what we’re going through because He experienced it Himself. (Hebrews 4:15) But, like Jesus, we must remember that not receiving a “yes” to our requests does not diminish God’s faithfulness. God is always faithful. He is always good. But at times, our limited perspective prevents us from seeing His best for each situation. We must learn to yield to God’s will!
Today, take the things you’re wrestling with, those seemingly unanswered prayers, and lift them up to the Father. Acknowledge that He can do all things. Then, make your requests known to Him, but do that cloaked in acknowledgment that He is God, and you are not, by yielding to His will. When you do that, you can have the confidence to lay it all at His feet, trusting in His goodness and faithfulness.
My grandma still hasn’t found the peace we desire her to have. She’s still trapped in an earthly body that is failing with a mind that no longer remembers. It breaks my heart. Oh, how I wish the Father would ease her suffering and take her home to be with Him.
But He is God, and I am not. I trust in Him and know He is faithful and good, and I yield to His will.
Today, let’s practice yielding to God’s will as we trust in His faithfulness.
Loving, compassionate Father, You are good and faithful in all things. My mind is limited to the perspective I have on this earth. Still, I find so much comfort in knowing that Your perspective is not limited by anything! I know you are for me and that Your plan is always best. Today, I lay my burdens at your feet and ask that Your will be done. Please help me to yield to your will as I rest in your faithfulness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.