Throughout the past few weeks, we have been overwhelmed with God’s provision and faithfulness in our lives and in the life of our youngest daughter, and many people have said things to us like “Your prayers are working! God is listening!” While I am so thankful that people are taking this opportunity to act as the body of Christ and lift up their hearts and hands in unity before Him, there is something that just isn’t sitting right with me. Something that I just can’t seem to shake.
Would people still proclaim God’s goodness and His provision if Anamaria were not doing well? If we had lost her, would people still believe our prayers were working? What about the times when God doesn’t do what you want?
I am so aware that many people have prayed for things—for miracles—and God has not answered in the way they wanted him to, or in the way that they thought he should. Sometimes God chooses not to do miracles. Most of the time this doesn’t make sense to us. And sometimes God chooses to say “No” to our requests. Does this mean that God doesn’t listen? That He doesn’t hear us, and weep with us, and that His heart doesn’t break for our heartache? While we often feel this way and allow ourselves to believe these things to be true, they aren’t. God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts greater than our thoughts—and so His plan for us is so much better than anything we could dream of—but it doesn’t always go the way we planned. Better yet, it never goes the way we planned. And thank goodness for that. But knowing that God has a plan doesn’t take away the pain of a request denied; of a “not yet” or a “wait it out.” Sometimes we falter and it’s in those moments that we rely on discipline to proclaim God’s goodness when we are having a hard time seeing it.
When all of this started a few weeks ago, and I was admitted to Anna Jaques Hospital and told that there was nothing they could do to save my baby at that point, at 22 weeks 5 days, our biggest prayer was that God would keep her inside for longer. “She is not viable” was what they kept telling us—“No hospital in Boston will even take you.” We kept asking God for one more day. And God was gracious enough to grant us “one more day”—six times. We are humbled—recognizing that we have done nothing to deserve God’s grace, His favor and His gracious granting of our request. On Thursday, we continued to ask God that he keep Anamaria inside for one more day—but God had other plans. He said, “No, I have something better planned for your little girl; and you need to trust me with her.” Even though this has not gone the way we would have planned it, or even wanted it, we recognize that God has been present throughout it all. And again we are so thankful and humbled that He has chosen to show His power, His ability to heal and to defy the statistics through the life of our precious daughter. But we are also so aware of other faithful brothers and sisters in Christ who have pleaded with God for a miracle and God has said No, or He has asked you to wait. And while I cannot understand when and how God chooses to show Himself, I know that He is glorified and exalted through the suffering and pain of His children—His children who choose to continue to proclaim His goodness despite their tragedy and celebrate His faithfulness amidst their loss. To everyone who has been in this place—I admire you. I thank you for your faithful following of Christ, and I encourage you that what you have suffered has not been in vain. God does not do anything without a purpose, even when we cannot figure out what that purpose is. Thank goodness we are not the ones in control of our lives—planning our course and leading our own steps. Thank goodness God is above all of these things and that His ways are so much higher than our ways. My prayer is that I would always be able to remember this—even when what I ask for is not what God chooses to give me, and what I plead for He denies. Because God’s goodness cannot be dependent on our circumstances; to say that would be to limit His love, faithfulness, kindness and grace.
Thank you for your prayers. Again we are humbled by God’s grace in Anamaria’s life—the reason she is named Ana in the first place, which means “grace.” My prayer is that I would remember that God’s presence is constant—He always hears our prayers and cares deeply for our concerns—no matter what His response is, His heart breaks with our hearts and desires the best for His children.
Anamaria wants us all to remember that God is good. No matter what happens. He is good. Here she is raising her hands to praise Him as she sucks on her pacifier that is bigger than her face! It’s a tough life for this little one! 🙂