On September 6th of this past year, I walked into my house to once again be confronted by the sign that hung over the kitchen sink. As I looked at those words, I didn’t feel anger. Or peace. Or sadness. Or strength. I felt numb. Everything was just as we had left it nearly 48 hours ago. Which somehow made the pain even more unbearable. Seemingly normal….and yet, nothing would ever be normal again.
My mind couldn’t stop playing the horrific scene that had occurred just the day before. Prayer was an integral part of that day, in ways I cannot even recount. As I tried to save my son after the accident, every breath I took was a prayer. When the paramedics took over, I fell to my knees and begged God to spare Joe’s life. The mom in me wanted to do something, anything….instead of watch the scene that was unfolding before my eyes. I desperately asked one of the paramedics what I could do to help. He turned to me, looked at me square in the eye, and exclaimed one word:
I immediately knelt at my son’s feet in the back of the ambulance and poured out the most earnest prayers I have ever prayed in my entire life. Every exhale was a prayer for my son to live. For God to be his breath. For a miracle to happen. For time to rewind just an hour. But as the minutes passed, I began to run out of words. And hope. My mind raced with thoughts of what Joe’s life would become….what my life would become….if he lived. Would he be in a coma? Would he ever be the same child I knew? Suddenly, my prayers stopped being about what I wanted and became prayers of complete surrender to the will and sovereignty of God. He loved my son a million times more than I did. He alone knew the future. The answers. The plan.
When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, just hours before He knew He would die, His prayer was one of utmost surrender as well.
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. ~ Luke 22:42, 44
If I could have sweat blood on that horrific September 5th, I would have done it. I don’t know about you, but have there ever been times in your life when you have had to completely surrender a situation to God because the circumstances were so totally out of your control? If you have, you know as well as I do, that placing that situation in God’s hands is an act of full surrender and trust. We tend to only do this in the “big things” in life, but isn’t that what we should do in all our circumstances? Surrender daily our own will to our loving Father, who knows better than we do about what will hurt us or bless us?
In the Scripture above, you may have noticed verse 43 is purposely missing. It reads:
An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.
You see, as everything was being done that was humanly possible to save my son’s life, one of the EMT’s came over to me and asked if he could pray with me. He put his arm around me and began to pray. To be honest, I don’t remember any part of his prayer. But it wasn’t the words that mattered in that moment. It was about God wrapping His arms around me to bring comfort to a mother about to lose her only son. That one prayer multiplied in a matter of days into hundreds, maybe even thousands of people across the country praying for me and my family.
For those of you who have prayed for me and with me in this journey….YOU are God’s angels sent to strengthen me. There is never a day that goes by that the power of God’s strength, through prayer, doesn’t hold me up and keep me going. Every day I wake up, I pray, “God. Give me strength just for today.” And miraculously he does.
I’ve prayed all kind of prayers in the last few months. Some full of pain. Some full of anger. Guilt. Peace. Acceptance. Questions. Grief. And while my prayers change on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis, this one truth has stayed on my heart: God has never changed. He still listens, still invites, still answers. He still strengthens His people through the power of prayer, as He did for His own Son.
And that, my friends, changes EVERYTHING.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.