How do we pray for the people we love when they are walking through the unthinkable?
This is a question I’ve found myself asking a lot this year.
My son was three years old when he first told us his stomach hurt. It’s been six years and we are just now starting to get to the root of the problem and figure out how to give him some relief. Six years and countless prayers – both from me and from the amazing community that surrounds us. Of course, the most common theme in our prayers is healing.. And as much as I hate to admit it, I have sometimes resented that. Not because I don’t believe in the healing power of God. I do. I’ve seen it in my own life and in my family. Nothing is impossible for God. But I don’t believe God always relieves pain, this side of heaven. How do I know? I know because I’ve watched prayerful, faithful people lose their health, lose the businesses they have spent their life building, lose the fight to save their marriages, and even bury their children. Unthinkable.
I will never, ever stop praying for God to heal my child and I will never be able to properly thank all the people who join me in that prayer. But I have felt this internal struggle over the past year as I’ve wrestled with praying for healing while also praying for the ability to accept that God may not take this away. His ways are higher and His plans are good – but that doesn’t mean they are always easy to accept. And on my darkest days, when I’ve watched my little boy struggle with pain I can’t relieve, when I have spent the overnight hours searching for new treatments, better doctors, clearer answers, when I am exhausted with a weariness that sleep can’t correct … I need prayers for door number 2. Prayers for strength. Prayers for treatment options. Prayers that my son will persevere and not grow bitter. Prayers to sustain us if healing is not God’s will.
Hearing the words ‘chronic pain disorder’ about your child with his whole life ahead of him … it’s unthinkable. But here’s the thing: God does not waste pain. And as we struggle, He is teaching me and growing me into a better prayer warrior. These feelings I’ve wrestled with on my spiritual walk have helped me realize that I don’t always know how to pray for other people because I have never walked in their shoes. I don’t know what they need – but God does.
So where does that leave me? What should I pray for?
The answer is right here in Romans 15:13:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Hope lights our darkness.
Hope gives us peace.
Hope strengthens us.
Hope encourages us to keep going.
Hope reminds us that we aren’t alone.
When we are trying to walk alongside the people we love as they navigate valleys we can’t possibly imagine, we can always pray for healing because healing is never beyond God’s power – but we can also pray for hope because hope is never out of reach.
If you need hope today, please leave us a comment or send us a message. It would be our honor to pray for you!