One of my favorite quotes of yours is, "The greatest battles are won when we're on our knees."
It's obvious that prayer is a very important aspect of a Christian's life. But what do you do when it seems like God doesn't answer your prayers? Ever since my baby sister passed away almost 2 years ago, I've been praying for another sibling. I mean, I appreciate and am thankful for the two siblings I have, but I've always wanted another sibling so badly. And I'm afraid to think that God's answer is no! Doesn't the Lord want to bless us with children? I have really been struggling with this, especially when a lot of the families around us started having babies after my baby sister passed away. I know that God is trying to teach me something, but I don't know what. Is there any advice you could give me?
My dear friend,
Hmm… you say that you have lost a sister? I wonder what she is doing right now? I simply can’t wait to meet her! However, I realize that for you, waiting for that day to come can be quite difficult.
In the meantime, did you know that God promises that “All things work together for good to those who love God?” Wait! Stop the presses and halt the horses!… is this possible when someone so close to us dies? I can remember when my dad died... oh, that was a terrible time for me… I lost my best friend in the whole world… but I trusted the Lord during that time and believed that he knew what was best. I gave my dad up into the Lord’s care while he was in the hospital. Then suddenly my dad started to make a miraculous recovery. The doctors said that dad was being talked about throughout the hospital as the man of the decade, rising from the dead so to speak! Then just one week before he was going to be released from the hospital, just one week I tell you, a nurse accidentally gave my dad a wrong treatment that took his life within minutes. It was an awful time for our family. Why would God raise him up just to take him away? Why the miracle and then the loss? I don’t have an answer to this but what I do know is that God is good! In him there is no darkness at all. God is also love! He loves me so much that he would never do anything that wasn’t for my ultimate good. Do I understand this? Absolutely not! In fact, I constantly talk to my dad as if he were here even though I know he can’t hear me. Oh how I wish he were here to help me. He was so amazing in so many ways. It’s during times like this that I remember what Peter's mother says in The Crew of the Dolphin. Even when she thought that her two sons had perished in the sea, that godly woman was able to declare that "God is good. He is very good, though my two sons are lost, and I go away quite old, and solitary, and poor. If He does not love me, who shall be good to me? I have not one other friend. No, no. I have called Him always my good God, and He must be my good God still. He will love you and me" (120).
And it’s alright to question God. It’s alright even to cry out to him and lament. That is what David did in so many of the songs he wrote… he cried out to God… look especially at Psalms 34, 37, and 119. David wrote, “Before I was afflicted I went astray but now I keep thy Word!” He also wrote, “It is good that I have been afflicted that I might know thy Word.” God uses loss and tragedy for reasons beyond what we can understand but one thing is certain, he does it for our good, for all things work together for good! In Romans 4 we read that Abraham was fully convinced that God would keep his promises. God has not promised that your family would have another child, but he has promised that he will never leave you nor forsake you. He has promised that all things work together for good. He has promised that nothing can separate you from his love. He has promised that nothing is impossible and he has promised that he can do exceedingly abundantly above all that you could ask or think! (Deuteronomy 31:6, Romans 8:28, Romans 8:38, Matthew 19:26, and Ephesians 3:20). So my friend, remember that God hears our prayer and is compassionate to our cry… Jeremiah wrote that God’s compassions are new every morning.
Lastly, and perhaps this is actually more firstly, I would love for you to see that maybe… just maybe… God has allowed you to experience this loss so that you may be able to help someone else who needs your love and compassion. That’s how this works… you receive compassion from God and help by his grace, then you in turn give what you have received. The Apostle Paul talks about this in his second letter to the Corinthians where he writes that God “comforts us in all our afflictions so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
I hope that this letter has provided you with some comfort, conviction, and encouragement. Hold fast to God’s promises, and let me know how you experience his sustaining presence during this time. Until I hear from you next, I will always remain
Still His, still yours,
Hesba Stretton, 1876
The crew of the Dolphin faces great peril, being swept away in crashing waves and crushing winds. But this is not the fiercest storm they face. The insurmountable surges of greed and deceit are far worse, bringing exposure, disgrace, and ruin. Yet we need not drift or be lost at sea, for God holds the sea in His great strong hand!