“Easier said than done” not only applies to the words we say but also the words we write. I wrote in Big, Bold, Biblical Prayers for the Next Generation that sometimes we feel more urgent about the lesser things and neglect to pray for the greater things. I challenged us to cultivate a sense of urgency for the greater things while trusting God to take care of the lesser things. Since writing those words, my willingness and ability to act on the conviction that undergirds those words has been tested.
My 34-year-old daughter was just diagnosed this month by a physician at Mayo Clinic with these words: “Chronic Intestinal Pseudo Obstruction (CIPO) is one of the most severe forms of gastrointestinal dysmotility with many debilitating and potentially life-threatening symptoms and manifestations.” Witnessing the reality of those “symptoms and manifestations” feeds an intensity and desperation for the power of God to deliver my daughter from this suffering and to cure what can’t be cured. As much as my father’s heart rebels against this thought, my desire for my daughter to be healed and able to enjoy the benefits and freedom of a fully functional digestive system and a healthy body, this is the lesser prayer.
I am challenged by my own words to feel more desperate that her faith not fail—more desperate that she persevere in this trial and the faith that we first saw in her 3-year-old heart will prove to be genuine thirty years later. Through the months of this physical struggle I have not detected even a hint of unbelief or bitterness or anger toward God. This young woman has boldly and confidently and faithfully trusted in the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord and Treasure of her life. This glorious reality makes my own soul sing. If the Lord is pleased to deliver my daughter from her present suffering I will rejoice and forever give thanks to God. And, I will rejoice even more in what seems to be so true and so real in Kristi’s life right now—that she is secure in Christ and has laid up for herself a treasure in heaven that is imperishable, undefiled and kept for her everlasting joy.
With this situation on the forefront of my mind, I offer this prayer:
The earth changes, mountains quake, waters roar and foam, troubles come, rivers of sorrow flow, and all hell endeavors to shake us, but You are my all-sufficient God, my refuge, my strength, my help in trouble and my unshakable Foundation—You are among Your people. You the LORD of hosts are with me! You, the God of Jacob are my stronghold. May Your praise be forever on my lips and unending love for You be in my heart.
O God, I pray that You will establish me and my loved ones more firmly in the truth. May our faith grow. Chase away the doubts that creep into our minds and keep them from residing in our hearts. May our lives be shaped and influenced by a rock-solid confidence in You. Help us to grow in our knowledge of You in whom we have believed and have put our trust. Establish us more fully in the light of Your word and may our joy in Your presence and our pleasure at Your right hand increase.
O, dear Father, we have needs right now that we feel intensely. My beloved daughter is sick and the present assault on her body is fierce. Paralyzing fear and discouragement and unbelief are crouching at the door and threaten to undo her and all of us who love her. Have mercy on her and on us. Please remove this thorn, lift the burden and deliver her from this suffering according to Your will and sovereign purpose for her life. Give her many more decades to live for Your glory and bear fruit and so prove that she is Your disciple.
I know Your ways are higher than our ways and that Your thoughts are higher than ours. I know our daughter has needs that You are more aware of than we are. We humbly and joyfully submit to Your wisdom and Your will. All we ask is that You would supply all that is needed out of Your fullness and give healing, and hope, and courage and consolation according to Your will and Your steadfast love and faithfulness.
Whether You have ordained five more days or five more decades for us, the time is very short until we cross the river to see You face to face and obtain the imperishable inheritance that awaits Your children. Until that day, guard our hearts and keep us walking in the light. Keep our ears open and our hearts responsive to Your word. Keep our eyes on You, Lord Jesus, who endured the cross for the joy that was set before You.
I ask all of this believing that we shall endure for Jesus's sake and for the glory of Your name.
For more on teaching children about trusting a sovereign God in the midst of suffering and other life challenges:
- Listen to the seminar Helping Families Deal with the Unexpected
- Find details on the family devotional books God’s Providence and God’s Promise.