"Mom, I'm not sure God
answers prayer. I'm just not sure anymore."
Emerson was hanging out with
me in the kitchen. She was talking; I was washing dishes.
"Why?" I asked.
"Because Jonah's not walking.
We prayed and prayed and he's not walking."
"But Emerson," I
said, "he is walking! Haven't you seen him taking steps?
God is answering our prayer! We must keep praying. Sometimes
God takes time to answer our prayers. He always has a reason
for waiting or being slow. We must have patience and keep
Emerson would not be satisfied.
"…but I don't like the way God is answering. Jonah's
not walking right. He's wobbly, and he walks slow and funny.
God needs to make him walk like he used to! I remember when
Jonah would get up in the mornings and run downstairs and
give everybody hugs. Now he can't run at all…"
Tears stung my eyes. I have
been holding those memories in my heart, too:
Jonah bounding down the stairs,
Jonah running across the yard
dressed as Daniel Boone with a bow and arrow,
Jonah playing at the park,
out-running his brothers.
It has been a struggle for
me -- this new normal -- but I didn't know it was a struggle
for this little 6 year old.
Emerson kept talking, "…and
did you see my face when you told me Mrs. Jane died? All
I could do was cry. We prayed for her, too…" Her voice
I stopped washing dishes and
looked into her sad eyes. The past few months have been
hard for her -- for all of us. Since December, we've been
praying that Jonah would walk again. It's been a long, hard,
painful process, but he IS taking steps.
However, coupled with this
struggle was the death of a dear, dear friend. Mrs. Jane
died quickly and unexpectedly, of brain cancer. Our whole
church prayed for her physical healing, SO MANY churches
prayed, but it just wasn't God's plan. She has left a huge
emptiness in our family. We will see her again, but we miss
I sighed and put down my dishrag.
"Emerson, you're right. It seems sometimes that God
doesn't answer prayer. I know how you feel. But it just
isn't true! God's just different. He has a different mind
than we do -- God Himself tells us that...
My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways
declares the Lord.
"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My
ways higher than your ways,
and My thoughts than your thoughts..."
"You know, my girl, we
might be praying one way and God is answering another way.
The fact is that God IS listening, and Jonah IS walking…maybe
not in the way WE think he should. But every day of Jonah's
life, God is doing a miracle of strengthening -- in his
legs and also in his "walk" with God!"
"As for Mrs. Jane…well,
we prayed that God would heal her and He did. She is in
heaven, complete and whole and at peace and happy. If we
gave her a choice to come back, do you think she would?"
The sunny Emerson that I love
so much came back in that moment. She laughed out loud and
began to dance around the kitchen.
"Are you kidding? NO!
Mrs. Jane would say, 'Leave Heaven? No way! I've got too
much dancin' to do!'"
Lost in the hope of Heaven,
Emerson danced out of the room.
I just love that girl.
Shortly after that conversation,
I wandered out to the garden. This spring there is one friendly
robin that has somehow decided that we are friends. As I
work in the garden she follows me. If I come across a worm
or a slug, I will throw it to her because she's never far
away. Either my little feathered friend will eat what I
throw or fly away with it to her nest nearby. Then, she
will happily return and begin hopping again behind me, furrow
by furrow, checking the dirt that I have turned over.
That particular afternoon as
I was working in one patch of the garden, I noticed the
soil was covered in ants. I mixed in a little ant killer
as I worked the dirt. I hadn't seen my robin friend all
day, but then there she was, flying down from the big tree
next door. She began happily hopping along, poking through
the dirt where I had just put the ant killer. She pulled
out a worm and a grub, and continued following me down the
I thought about that ant killer.
What if it poisoned the robin? What if she passed the poison
on to her little ones in the nest above me? I tried shoeing
her away, but she didn't understand. She would fly out and
then come right back, again poking through that same deadly
patch of dirt where I had been working.
Finally (though I was a little
annoyed), just to protect my little friend, I moved to the
other end of the garden and began digging there. The dirt
was untouched by ant poison or any chemicals, so I knew
it would be fine for her to dig and dine there. The robin
stopped and stared at me from across the garden. I knew
she didn't understand. The patch of dirt I had moved to
wasn't as moist and there were not as many grubs or worms.
She poked around in my original patch of dirt, but only
half-heartedly now. Finally she joined me on the other end
of the garden and followed me there, hopping up and down
I knew what was best for her.
When I pray, I pray for God's
best, don't you? That's the whole idea of prayer, isn't
it, recognizing that God is the only One who can help? God
knows what is best for me. He is the Gardener of my life.
I am the trusting robin.
Sometimes when I pray and God
answers, I think…
What??! God, do we have
a communication problem?? That's not what I prayed for!
I don't always understand.
I'm not always impressed with the answers He gives or the
journey He puts me on. But He knows me perfectly and He
loves me completely. He does what's best. He really does.
Do you have a need? A heartache?
A request? Trust the Gardner. He may totally NOT do what
you ask, but He WILL do what is best…for you, for your loved
His answer could be
a matter of life and death.
Trust the Gardner.
© 2013. Faith Matters by Lygia Lovelace. All rights