Thursday, November 29, 2007

Trusting God for the Outcome

My heart is heavy tonight.

We just received news that my good friend, who just stepped down as the Area Coordinator of our theater group--a vivacious, loving, capable and energetic leader, a mom, a wife, and a Christian deeply committed to putting hands and feet to her faith--has a blood clot in her brain, and has had at least five strokes over the last two weeks.

She's at a great hospital; she's had a bazillion tests, and they think now that the clot may be due to an ASD (atrial septal defect in the heart). One more three-hour test to go, tomorrow morning, and I'm not sure what after that. Probably surgery to remove the clot and maybe fix the defect? I suppose the danger for the moment is that the clot could travel elsewhere and...

Lord, have mercy.

We had the healing service for our friend John Fawcett the other night. It was a beautiful service, with such wonderful Scripture readings and music selections, communion, and a long time for all hundred or more people to gather around John to lay hands on him and pray aloud for him and his family. I brought along two of our kids, Blondechick15 and Bantam12, and it was so good for them to be there, I thought, and see how the body of Christ responds with such hope and faith in the face of such a crisis. They loved it.

My husband led the service, and he said something so good I want to remember it. It addressed the whole issue of: How do we pray in faith for healing, when it might be God's will to take someone to Heaven? He said simply that we pray as our hearts desire, that God would bring complete and total healing to John's body, remembering that we don't control the outcome.

We don't control the outcome. What freedom that knowledge brings! It takes all the pressure off, the pressure to pray with just the right words, or with enough faith, or the "right way." It frees us from having to qualify all our prayers with "if it be Thy will." It puts us in the position of children, pouring out our hearts' desires to a loving Father. Just as a loving earthly father may withhold from his children for their good, so we know that our Heavenly Father may not give us everything we ask for. But a loving father never chides a child for hopefully, wishfully, respectfully asking for something. And God the Father tells us to ask for what we need.

King David did exactly that when he prayed for his first son with Bathsheba, the one that the Lord took as a punishment for his sin:

David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and went into his house and spent the nights lying on the ground.

...[When he heard the child was dead], David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.

His servants asked him, "Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!"

He answered, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, 'Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.' But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me." (2 Sam. 12: 16, 20-22)

In his case, he knew that it was God's will that the child would die! Yet he petitioned the Lord for his son's life, completely willing to accept the outcome, worshiping God and resuming life after the child's death.

So we can pray in hope and faith, without worrying about how our prayers affect the outcome. We don't have to pray for God's will to happen--it will be done. We can pray freely, as little children, for the desires of our hearts--and trust God with the outcome.


Megan (FriedOkra) said...

That was very enlightening to me. I hadn't ever consciously asked myself that question, but I guess somewhere inside it was there, because when you stated it, I though, YEAH? HOW? And the answer was really uplifting too. We truly ARE his CHILDREN. Innocent in so many ways. Great post, and I hope both of the two people you are praying for will rally.

elaine@bloginmyeye said...

I might have to read this one a few times. I'm still struggling with this.

Linds said...

This made me think again, Jeanne. Thanks for posting this. Your husband is a wise man.
And I will be praying for your friend.

Catherine said...

I love this - thanks for posting it. And I am so sorry to hear about your dear friend...

Brea said...

Excellent post, Jeanne, and what wisdom your husband has been blessed with!! I know it took me a along time to even grasp that maybe I wasn't the One in control, Someone else is ... It can be a very freeing thing to realize, like you said. Many, many prayers for your friend; I'm so sorry to hear that!


Islandsparrow said...

Exactly Jeanne!

I'm lifting your heavy heart up to the Lord tonight - asking that He will fill you with His own sweet comfort and peace. And I'm also praying for your dear friends and their families.

Donna Boucher said...

I will pray too Jeanne.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on prayer and healing.

And even when we know the truth with our heads....our hearts still hurt and grieve.

May you continue to find comfort in God's comforting truths.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Jeanne (and hubs) for this post and these enlightening words. They have brought such freedom into my prayers for John.

Lord, have mercy on John.