by Linda Evans Shepherd @lindaShepherd
A mother of a disabled child invited me to coffee one day. She confided, “I’ve been wanting to talk to you, to find out how you’ve handled all the emotions and heartache of being a mother of a disabled child.”
Later, as we sipped our lattes, she confided, “I’ve prayed for healing for my child and my child is still paralyzed.” Her eyes filled with tears, “How do I process my disappointments?”
How I related to this mother’s angst.
In a Christian culture where we expect God to answer our every prayer, immediately, it’s hard to know what to do when our prayers seemed to go ignored.
We even wonder: doesn’t God love me?
I too have faced this question, as I tried to understand God’s silence to my own angst regarding my daughter’s disabilities. “First,” I told my friend, “God does love you, and I know he has answered many of your prayers.”
“Yes,” she confided. “But not all of them.”
“I get it,” I said. “I prayed that one day my daughter would walk again, but God didn’t answer that prayers until the day she walked into eternity. How glad I am she’s completely restored now and can walk with Jesus. But I had hoped that one day Laura would walk, here on earth, with me.”
My friend nodded. “I totally understand. So how did you process this disappointment?”
I said, “I had to remind myself to count my everyday blessings. And to not discount the answered prayers we did have. For example, I’d prayed daily that God would restore Laura’s brain, after half of it was destroyed in a violent car crash. Then came the day, the doctor put a new picture of Laura’s brain on the light board for me to see. I stared at a picture of an intact brain before jumping out of my chair to say, ‘This film does not belong to my daughter.’”
“That’s when the doctor said, ‘Your daughter’s brain restored itself. We didn’t know a brain could do that.’”
I told Joan, “God had restored my daughter’s brain! So though I didn’t get every answer I ever prayed on her behalf, including some pretty major petitions, I could see that God was moving in my daughter’s life.”
I asked Joan, “Do you have blessings you can count? Do you have miracles regarding prayers you prayed over your son?”
Joan nodded, “Lots of them.”
I told her, “Then keeping counting them. As for me, I had to realize that real ‘faith’ is actually ‘trusting God no matter what. Like it says in Proverbs, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (3:5-6 NKJV).
Joan wanted to know: “But when do we stop asking for our children?
I replied, “Never. We are the moms, and we will ask for our kids as long as we live.”
Joan agreed, “I’ll never stop asking either.”
I confided, “Neither did I, not until the end of Laura’s last day on earth.”
As I look back at the 28 years my daughter lived as a disabled person, I have to say how glad I am that I got to be her mom. It was a privilege. I counted a lot of blessings and even saw healing miracles, including the healing of my own heart. In that regard, I learned how to love in deeper ways, and I learned how to keep pushing into prayer even in the impossible. And finally, I learned how to trust God. For ‘faith’ equals ‘trust’ and ‘trusting God’ results in ‘peace that passes understanding.’
What a miracle.
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Philippians 4:6-7 MSG
About the author: Linda Evans Shepherd is the author of 34 books including Praying God’s Promises and The God You Need to Know. She is the CEO of Right to the Heart Ministries and the founder of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She’s the publisher of Leading Hearts Magazine and Arise Daily.
Linda has been married over thirty years and has two grown kids. She loves to travel and bring the word to groups and events across North America. You can read more about Linda at Arise Speakers.
Join the conversation: How do you process God’s silence when your prayers go unanswered?