There's a black leather bench outside of the trauma intensive care unit in a Charlotte, NC hospital. During the night my husband was shot in the back and was screaming in pain while in his sterile TICU room, I would divide my time between his bed side and that bench, praying in both places.
I'm sure I alarmed people who walked by that bench, as I was either sitting on it, crying and praying, or kneeling down before it, petitioning the Great Physician on bended knee -- for pain relief, for comfort, for wisdom. When I couldn't use words to pray, the Holy Spirit would take over. Psalm 56:8 says, "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book." This doesn't mean God has literal bottles all over heaven with salty tears in them.
It means He remembers. He hears and He sees. When we cannot go on speaking, when the tears fall without fail at every thought, He hears even those salty prayers.
There are so many examples in Scripture of people praying when all seemed lost. David praying over his sick child who was conceived during his illicit affair with Bathsheba. Elisha's servant who accidentally dropped the borrowed ax-head in the water, afraid it was lost forever. Believers, holed up in a house, praying for Peter's deliverance, only to have Peter knock on the door. The girl who opened the door was so shocked to see him she slammed the door in his face in her excitement.
But there's one instance in Scripture that stands out above all the rest. Among the olive trees, as His disciples couldn't keep their eyes opened even though He told them, "My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me," [Matthew 26:38], Jesus walked away from them and prayed.
He didn't just pray, though. Matthew wrote that Jesus "bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine," [Matthew 26:39].
Oh how hard that is! We want the test results to come back negative. We want our child to call us. We want our loved one to rise up out of that bed. I want to dance with my husband on the cruise we're going on. Yet, being in the center of God's will means doing the hard things. It means going back to the ICU room -- or the disciples -- and finding nothing has changed -- but still praying. He's still crying as nerve after nerve is shutting down and the disciples are still asleep.
Still, we go back. We go back to bow on the ground and plead again. Not my will, Lord. You know the plans You have for us; plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. It may not be the future we intended. It may not be for us to understand these things. Yet, when we surrender ourselves to the will of God as followers of Jesus Christ, that means surrendering ourselves to His will -- not our's.
Look at Matthew 26:44-46. "So He went to pray a third time, saying the same things again. Then He came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look — the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”
When I read this while in the hospital with Greg, in the room with him as he was finally able to sleep, it's like God's hand came through the pages of the Bible and flicked my forehead. He was telling me to rest -- even as I felt like I had to be awake and doing something -- anything -- to have God hear my cries. He was telling me that while I need rest and sleep, He does not. He's got this.
But when the time comes...when the time comes to be awake to declare the healing testimony of Jesus Christ... "Up, let's be going." Prayer changes into praise. Praise changes into testimony -- no matter what happens, no matter if Greg will walk either on earth or in heaven, God's praises we will sing and shout as He, and He alone, has the victory.
In Christ Alone,
(c) 2017 Terrie McKee
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