Saturday, January 21, 2017

What about when BOLD prayers seem unanswered?


The key board have been silent for the past week or so.

My heart and soul, not so much. 

God gave me a gift in the word “bold” for the year. I’m choosing to look at it as a gift because I know every good thing comes from the Father of Heavenly Lights. While I don’t understand all his “gifts” I can still choose to believe and to trust that they are for a good – even when that good seems invisible to me.

Our family has been anticipating a diagnosis. My Dad has been keeping an eye on some symptoms that he’s been experiencing. It’s been on my heart for months.  As the day approached for his doctor appointment I began to pray. Because God is breathing into me a spirit of boldness this year, I chose to stand on the promise that HE never takes me somewhere He isn’t already present.  So, I boldly prayed that my Daddy would get to the doctor appointment and that the doctor would find nothing wrong with him; that his symptoms would be simply natural aging symptoms, that the things that bothered him would be gone, and that IF there was something wrong it would be healed in HIS MIGHTY name. I prayed BOLD. I believed BOLD. I hoped BOLD. I counted on BOLD.

And then the phone rang.

And a diagnosis came. Parkinson’s Disease.

My heart stuttered. What?! How can this be? How could this happen? I prayed. I prayed BOLD like you asked of me. I renounced sickness, I prayed healing, I praised you in advance for the healing you would do in his body because I was THAT sure you could bring it to pass.

And yet, the diagnosis came. Parkinson’s Disease.

That was one week ago today.  God and I, we have gone a few rounds. It’s comforting to know He can handle my hurt, my sadness, my questions, my doubt, my wondering what He’s up to. 

My heart, when overcome with the unknowns fears the future; fears tomorrow; fears what’s to come around the corner that I can’t see. And yet, wasn’t my first thing of the year to purpose ‘embracing the unknown’. 

God put that phrase on my heart.

He knew.
He knew that I’d wrestle with the unknown.
He knew that there would be things in my future – in the future of those that I love – that would require a blind faith – in every unknown … to remember that in every unknown situation HE is what IS KNOWN.
The unknown need not be nearly so scary because He’s already there. There’s a certain comfort that comes with looking at the future – as scary as it looks some days – and knowing that His comfort, His love, His embrace, His provision, His company, His healing… it’s all there, waiting in anticipation for me… and for you…

Tonight, I led worship at Celebrate Recovery. (This was the event that I blogged about earlier). I was anxious going in because the “I like order and control” self was having to “go with the flow”. I wasn’t 100% sure who my band was going to be. I was walking into a new service, and leading from a venue I had never even stepped foot on before.

And then there was the underlying tension in my spirit… that tug of choosing to believe God is good even when prayers are not answered the way I’d like.
The pull of wanting God to use me and the gifts and talents He’s instilled in me – and yet wanting to hide and put on the mask that there isn’t anything simmering under my skin, deep in my soul.  I didn’t plan what I was going to say. Every time I tried it felt fake, forced, rehearsed. Instead, I picked a Psalm to read and prayed BOLDLY that God would place His words in my mouth and that I would be a vessel for Him tonight.

I can’t tell you exactly what I said. What I do remember is sharing that it had been a hard week and that we had received a diagnosis – that even though we expected it, it felt like a sucker punch. I admitted praying BOLD prayers and feeling like God hadn’t heard me when the diagnosis still came. I had hoped to not get emotional up front, on a stage in front of strangers, but tears did come. How could they not?

What I didn’t expect was the way it felt to share my heart. Bearing my heart was not only cathartic, it was filling. Releasing those feelings and thoughts left room for His spirit to come rushing in…like a wind, like a flood filling up those spaces where doubt and hurt and anger had dared to take up lodging.  It’s no wonder scripture tells us to bear one another’s burdens and to confess our sins to one another.

I love that, tonight, in a place of tender (albeit emotional) boldness, God answered.

My Dad isn’t healed but my heart is on its way there.