I have been thinking about prayer this weekend, not just the act of praying but the purpose in it and the reason for it. I have been struggling over the point, and the next step so to speak. I mean, if prayer is for us to bring our concerns before God and petition him for healing then why does it seem like an endless and hopeless task? With the news last week I have been left wondering, is there a point anymore? The surgery is no longer something we can pray against, all that is left is to pray for quick healing, wisdom for the doctors and success right? Is there anymore point in praying for a miracle? I feel like all I have been doing for the last three years is pray in hope and expectation of the ‘big’ miracle and yet here we sit on yet another precipice waiting again for a phone call from the doctor to tell us what the team has decided. At what point do I just give in and say ‘fine’ and stop hoping that this will end for Josh? As I sit here I find myself realizing that with this surgery they will do something that they can not go back from, they will implant a mechanical valve in Joshua’s over sized heart and change his life forever. He will be on blood thinners and other medications for the rest of his life, they will doom him to repeat surgeries to replace that valve, more pain, more suffering, for the rest of his life.
Yesterday someone said to me “isn’t that what we all live with? The unknown, possible health issues always on the horizon?” and yes, I suppose we do but we just don’t know it. I heard on Friday about a man who went to the hospital with neck pain, they scanned him and found that his spine was riddled with cancer, he had only months left to live. A car accident can claim us tomorrow, a fire can steal our last breath as we sleep tonight, or we could go for a routine check up only to discover some disease will change our lives or take our lives within months or after years of suffering. The only thing we can hope and pray for is the strength to ‘man up’ and find our faith grow stronger in the midst of it.
Which of course leads me back to my original question, what is the point in praying? Is there a point? Is there some secret to it that I don’t know about? Will it change the outcome? If God already has a plan, already knows the ending to this story then how is my prayer, my request going to change a thing?
I have no answers, as I said this is something that I am struggling through as we move forward on this new chapter of Joshua’s journey. I do know this, God is not Santa Claus, he is a God who longs for relationship, he is a God who longs to hear my heart, my worries, my concerns and my worries and he is a God who wants to offer comfort, peace and ultimately hope. So when I find that I have nothing left to pray I guess I just have to pray for those things, that he will give me back my hope, that he will find a way to comfort me and shed a ray of peace into my heart.
When Josh was in the hospital fighting for his life after his first surgery I sat for hours int he chapel praying, begging God not to take my son, begging him to comfort me, hoping against hope that he was there, listening, caring. The chapel (in Sick Kids) was quiet, it was evening and no one was there. I sat alone for a while crying and praying and then the door opened and I was too scared to look up, too scared that I would be disappointed because there was a part of me that so longed for someone to come and comfort me, to prove to me that God had heard me. The footsteps of that person walked by me and sat a few rows away and silent sobs racked me. (I don’t know what I was hoping for, if God himself would come or not but I had hoped for something). After a few moments the person stood to leave, they walked past me, touched my shoulder and sighed deeply, saying ‘Oh my’. They stood there for a moment while I cried and then quietly left. I never looked up, I didn’t see the person and to this day I know that God answered my prayer for comfort. Someone had heard God’s call that night to enter my pain, to say not a word to me but to express through a sigh all the sorrow that they felt on my behalf. My heart was immediately lightened and the hope restored because the God I believe in cared enough to hear and answer me.
My prayer for us as a family, my prayer for anyone who is suffering today is that when your faith is weak, and the hope is gone, that we will receive a touch on the shoulder and know God’s comfort, hear his sigh of sorrow over our pain, and discover again his hope, his peace and his comfort. That we will hear his whispered ‘Oh my’ and know deep within your heart that this is not what he wanted for us, but that he is hear in the midst of our pain and that one day he will turn our sorrow to joy, our mourning to dancing. One day.