Throughout Eva's sickness people prayed for us. People prayed for her. Some well-meaning people prayed fervently and told us that she would be healed. That they were praying as if there were no other possible outcome.
But she lives.
We didn't hear much from those name it and claim it prayer warriors afterwards.
Were we not righteous enough for our daughter to live? Was God not listening to our prayers?
Now there is another sick baby in our lives. Prayers are being poured out for this child. People are praying 'unceasingly'. Some of those people are the same people who prayed for Eva.
This child's parents now feel that they have heard from God that their girl will be saved. That Jesus will be glorified through their daughter's healing. Hmmm. I want their daughter to live. I hope their daughter lives (here on earth). I don't want her parents to walk the darkest road of doubt and heartache and pain and anger. But I can't claim earthly healing. The only healing I can claim is heavenly healing. Where God will wipe away every tear and there will be no more pain. That is the only healing I can claim.
Eva died. But she lives. Hope has come from Eva's life. And her death.
Something that has stuck with me over the last couple of years are the words of Paige Beselt in her book 40 weeks. That when we pray for healing what we are actually saying is that heaven is our second choice. Shouldn't heaven be our first choice for our children?
Why is their daughter being sustained by the Father's hand? Was/Is my daughter not sustained by the Father's hand?
Is it only by his grace that their daughter lives? Where was his grace when Eva was sick?
The truth is that his grace is there for this precious child of God but it is and was also there for Eva.
The thing that gets me so much though is that if this girl is healed (on earth) then everyone will say 'oh, praise the lord, our prayers worked'. Praise the Lord? Yes! Our prayers worked? No! God worked. But God worked in Eva's life too. He didn't hang her out to dry. He just didn't work in the way her mama wanted him to work. I wanted him to save her body for me. He took her home instead. If God takes their little one home it's not because he didn't work. It's not because prayers didn't work. It's because it was her time. Easy to say. Much, much harder to live. Trust me I'm living it every day. And it's practically impossible to live it.
And I hesitate to pray for healing. Rather I lift up this family in prayers for a peace that surpasses all understanding.. Because the road ahead is long for them. It is long regardless of the outcome.
I was given a book (thanks Maureen) a few weeks ago Alive and Well is written by Diane Knight. Diane's son, Justin, died at the age of 17. When Justin was in ICU Diane prayed for God's will to be done but she didn't pray for healing for her son. Oh, she wanted him to be healed. But she prayed for God's will to be done because God's will is always best. Sometimes he relents and answers our prayers in the way that we want rather than in the best way but the outcome is always much worse. She uses an example from the bible where the people prayed for a king like the other nations had and he relented but the king was a tyrant. And the people suffered. How much better they were before the answer to their prayer. I sometimes wonder what Eva's life would have been like had she lived. Would it have been great or would it have been awful? I'm pretty sure that her life is way better in heaven than it ever could be here. It's me whose life sucks. It's me who grieves my precious daughter. It's me whose left with shards of glass and pain in my hands. Cutting my hands and my heart.
And that brings us round to the question that haunts me often. Why pray anyway? Why bother if God is going to do whatever he wants to do anyway? But I tell you I felt the prayers sustain me as I walked down the hallways of the hospital when Eva was so sick. And that memory comes back to me often as I struggle with 'why pray?' Also the bible tells us to pray. Prayer is good for the soul. Prayer is good for our relationship with God. Prayer more than just asking God to do stuff for us and expecting him to perform like a trick dog. Because he is bigger than that. And I cannot understand him. And I don't pretend to have all the answers. But I know God loves me. And knowing he loves me is enough.
Meanwhile I continue to pray for a peace that surpasses all understanding for this precious baby and her family so far away. Knowing God holds all of us in the palm of his hand.