There I stood in a circle of prayer with our small study group to close out our evening. We had had a good Bible lesson and discussion, as usual, although it seemed the atmosphere was subdued.
I asked one of the men to lead us out in prayer, suggesting we would then pray one by one whatever Holy Spirit laid on our hearts and agree one with another. The man expressed that he did not feel like praying but did so anyway as a courtesy to me, a leader. Then it was my turn to pray. I felt the presence of the LORD, but I also felt heaviness. My prayer was followed by a lengthy silence that I broke by asking if anyone else had something they wanted to pray. That is when our dear Miss Debbie, who is normally effervescent, spoke up in brokenness and asked, “Are we missing something?”
Many of us have faced great loss over the past 2 years, but in our circle, this year has been especially difficult. The reason for the heaviness that Sunday evening was due to the death of a 14 year old girl who had cancer. There were those in our prayer group who had been praying and believing for her and yet here we stood, adding this young girl to our list of losses.
“I prayed for her. I believed for her. Look what happened. I have a sister who is battling cancer. What am I supposed to do? Where do I go from here? Am I missing something?” Miss Debbie asked.
The man who led in prayer shared similar experiences, the same grief, and asked the same questions. It was difficult to stand there in silence, not having the answers. My heart was bleeding for these precious ones lent to my care.
Mom brought up the first thing we must consider in these situations: we do not know the heart of those for whom we are praying. The battle can become too much. We can become weak. We can choose to die. True though it was, I sensed this did not pacify our small group. A 14 year old girl died. It was difficult to believe that she chose to die when she had so much to live for.
We stood in silence. What would You say to this, LORD? Your people need comfort.
God is good and faithful. Suddenly a couple of things came to me, besides the fact that we do get to choose life and death. I said it to the group like this:
“I did a small group study years ago and the author taught that the devil hits us in our strength. Look at it this way: What is the earth saturated with right now? Fear. Fear is the opposite of faith. It is satan’s currency. If he can continue to keep us discouraged so that we quit praying in faith, then we’ll never see the moves of God that we’re expecting. God is going to loose Himself on His remnant. We need to continue to be persistent and consistent so that we can be used by Him. Keep the faith.
“I also learned this from a man who has had phenomenal answers to prayer although not all of his prayers were answered in the manner in which he prayed. When he asked the LORD about this, the LORD told him, ‘You are quick to glorify Me when the outcome is positive but you blame yourself when the outcome is negative. You do not receive the glory, you must not take the responsibility. You must leave it all in My hands.'”
I felt the heaviness dissipate. The furrowed brows smoothed. Smiles lit the room. Miss Debbie hugged me and held me tight after we closed. She was refreshed. And I hope that you are too.
Yes, continue to pray. Continue to believe. Jesus did say that those of us who believe in Him, the things He did we will do and greater (John 14:12). But we must hold on through these times of loss. We must continue to trust in Him. Are there things I do not understand? Yes. Do I have questions? Yes. But I’ve resigned myself to give it all to God. I have decided that I will continue to believe that I will see the salvation of the LORD no matter what things look like. It isn’t easy. And yet it is. Fear and doubt wear a body out. If you will live, faith and trust are a must.
I believe with all of my heart that there is coming a day that before the prayer is wholly out of our mouth the answer will be there, but we must hold fast until then. God loves you. He loves me. He loves the people He created and wants us to advance. Let’s take that attitude into 2022. Join me today in basking in the presence of the one and only True God. Whether it rains or shines, He is worthy.