Before Sarah was diagnosed with cancer, we had prayed for plenty of people that had been diagnosed with cancer. As I think back about the people in our life that cancer has taken, it is heart wrenching. I remember growing up and feeling like cancer was a death sentence. There are certainly survivors of cancer and for that I am thankful. It’s a battle that I would not wish upon my worst enemy. I know families that are in the middle of the battle right now and for those- I continue to pray. Once cancer has entered your comfort zone, you realize how invasive and all too common it really is.
The fact that Sarah could go from a seemingly healthy normal kid having some minor pain in her arm to dying from cancer in 10 months, is still so hard to believe. She seemed so vibrant and strong, even as her cancer progressed. She had so much life left in her.
“But God”…you see, that’s a popular saying these days in Christian dialogue. But God…what did He do? She’s gone. There was no miracle. It sure feels like she was a victim of Cancer. She’s no longer here with us. Oh, how we prayed. All over the literal world people were praying for our girl. Praying for a miracle. God didn’t answer our prayers. How do we reconcile this disappointment with our faith?
As we were immersed deeper into the battle, rest assured we clung deeper to the promise that God is good and that He is and was very capable of ridding her body of the cancer. We researched miracles-the miracles in scripture and the miracles that are still happening today around the world. Trust me, they do still happen. It strengthened our faith and gave us so much hope. Logically, we could see how it could all play out. Sarah was made to minister. She loved talking to people about Jesus and if God chose to heal her on earth, she would gladly devote the rest of her life to spreading her testimony and the gospel to whomever would listen. She firmly believed that He was going to heal her. Her faith was big.
As her cancer progressed, we tried to prepare ourselves with the reality that she may die, but we also held on to the possibility that anything could happen. After all, nothing is impossible with God. Preparing her for the possibility that she may be leaving us, was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to face. It felt like I was crushing her faith, but I didn’t want her to miss her opportunity to say her good-bye’s. It was unthinkable to accept that in 15 short years, she had accomplished everything on earth that God had planned for her to do here.
As I have grieved, I have talked to God very honestly about my disappointment. I still believe with all of my heart that He is good and that His will towards us is good. He loves us and wants what’s best for us. How do I reconcile that with the disappointment that I feel? One of the most profound statements that I heard during our journey through all of this was by Bill Johnson, pastor of Bethel. In regards to healing disappointments, he said “If we want the peace that surpasses all understanding, then we need to give up our right to understand.” Hard to accept, but true. Even Jesus prayed and asked for some other way other than the crucifixion. Even his request wasn’t answered. Death was the only way for Him to accomplish resurrection. It was the will of the Father. In coming to terms with His will for Sarah, He’s reminded me that my plans for Sarah’s life aren’t as good as His plans. Ouch. What He has planned for her in heaven is so much bigger and greater than any ministry here on earth. My feelings should never determine what is true about God. Just because I feel disappointed does NOT mean that God is a disappointing God. What was true about Him before cancer, is still true after cancer.
To be honest, I’m still struggling with singing the words “you have never failed me yet.” But God…what is He doing? He’s being ever so patient with me as I question Him and realize that what I’m really saying is that He failed to do what I wanted Him to do. He’s been so close, while I grieve. He is sustaining us through the unthinkable. He hates cancer even more than I do. He didn’t create it and one day it will get what it deserves. Until then, He will make new and beautiful things out of the dust of this broken earth here and He’s already made Sarah new in heaven. She still has lots to accomplish for Him and is ministering in ways that I can’t even understand. He doesn’t want me to stop asking for miracles and bringing my request to Him. He doesn’t want me to distance myself from Him in my disappointment. I’m convinced that staying in His presence is the best way for me to heal and actually even stay close to Sarah’s spirit. She is certainly in His presence too. I know that He used Sarah’s life to deepen the faith of many and in a lot of ways, her work here on earth continues. As I wrestle with the “why,” I know that I may never get all my answers and I’m ok with that right now. His peace replaces my need to understand and that in itself is definitely a miracle.
8 thoughts on “When Miracles Don’t Happen”
Good morning Kim,
Read your entry this morning. Thank you for sharing.
What stuck out to me was your comment about “giving up our right to understand” , by Bill Johnson.
….. Then, may we find peace beyond our understanding! I pondered this for a while and I do think we have to do that and just sit back and trust in HIS SOVEREIGNTY! ( God is God and we are NOT) my breakdown of sovereignty!!
We, as humans, want to understand why God answers some prayers and not others or why children have to suffer……. etc.
I find that I have to train my brain to say, “I am not going to ask “why” this suffering continues or why my loved one had to die” sorry, God, yI am not you! OR “ your ways are NOT my ways”! OR “YOUR thoughts are higher than my thoughts”. Just felt I needed to share.
Praying for Peace,
Yes, I agree. I’ve known about the scripture in Philippians 4:7 for a very long time, but I had never thought about surrendering my right to understand. It’s sort of the “key” that unlocks the peace. That scripture even promises that it will guard our hearts(emotions/feelings and our minds(anxiety/stress). I actually think that surrendering our “whys” even becomes an act of worship. It exalts God back to the throne… He’s the only one that belongs there!
Thank you so much for reflecting on this and sharing with me.💕
Beautifully written. Arnold and I continue to hold up your family in prayer.
Thank you Beth!
Oh Kim, your post puts into words so many of the things I have been thinking and wrestling with. After Sarah’s passing. I became scared of God in a way I’ve never felt before. Scared because I thought I knew God and His ways, but was wrong. That thought deeply saddened, frightened, and angered me. How?? How am I this far along in my walk with God, but now doubting that I know anything about Him? How could I have felt SO strongly that God was saying Sarah would be healed that I literally expected a call from you saying she had come back to life? I’ve never felt that way about anyone, but I did about Sarah, and I truly thought that assurance came from God. With His no to our prayers, my confidence in my understanding of God was rocked to the core. I told myself that I would never say out loud what I believed God was speaking to me about anyone or anything again. But even as I have been wrestling with my fears and confusion, there has been a sense of peace and of an invitation from God to come and learn from Him, to listen quietly and to simply abide in Him. What a gentle, kind thing for Him to do! I’ve never wanted to know God more – just know Him. I pray often for you and am so proud of and thankful to God for sustaining you the way He has and for giving you a voice through all of this that helps us process our own questions, grief, longings, and, yes, faith in Him. Love you!
I love you too friend! I’m confident that someday we will see the whole picture and we will understand why our plan wasn’t the best plan. Chad reminds me often that although our prayers weren’t answered the way we wanted, they were answered. She’s healed. She’s perfect. So meanwhile, we’re the ones that still have the growing up in Christ to do. 2020 has baffled a lot of prophetic people for sure.
Surrendering our will for His is so beautiful is what the Lord has done in your life in such a profound and priceless way. Reading your words of your journey are salt & light and powerful. Thank you Beloved sister
Thank you Cheryl. That means a lot to me.
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