A few weeks ago a producer, camera man, and light specialist traveled from Nashville to film our little family for the 700 Club which will air on CBN (Christian Broadcast Network). The three men that occupied our home for the day were wonderful to spend time with and made it easy and comfortable to share my story of survival. The show will include interviews from my husband, my brother—the doctor, and me; they will also have actors re-enacting the story. Upon finding this out, I requested Reese Witherspoon to play me and Hugh Jackman to play Doug. They said their budget would be too limited for my top-dollar choices. Haha!
We feel truly honored to have been asked to be a part of this show where others may be able to encounter the Lord and find hope in their own suffering as they view the episode. It may be on as early as April or as late as next Fall, so I will let you know when it airs as soon as they inform me.
The same week the 700 Club stopped by my house, I also began leading a four-week Bible study for a group of twenty wonderful women who regularly meet. I did not know any of them when asked to do this kind of teaching and have come to truly cherish them in the past few weeks. It never ceases to amaze me how fast people can connect when sharing the faith! The topic of the two studies I have lead so far were Suffering and The Power of Prayer. I was able to share my story as a way to give an example to the scripture I used. Then, some of the women shared powerful stories of their own suffering and how Christ worked through it. Let’s just say there was a lot of tissue being passed around. I, too, had shed some tears listening to what some of these women have had to endure. There is so much grace when people share in one another’s suffering. It truly is binding.
One of my favorite scripture versus that we spoke about was:
Luke 22:41-44- And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground.
I love this scripture verse because it gives some insight as to how God answers our prayers. Jesus was praying that if it was in God’s Will that God would spare him the horrible death he was about to face. Instead of God sparing his life, He sent Jesus an angel to strengthen him.
How many times have we prayed for God to answer our prayer request with a certain outcome in mind that did not ever come true? Was God listening?
This scripture passage has awakened me once again to how God never abandons us even when we think He has. His own son is asking for God to spare his life, but it was not in God’s Will. Does God abandon Jesus? No. He doesn’t give Jesus what he wants, God gives him what he needs which was comfort and strength brought to him from an angel.
This passage makes me re-examine my past times of suffering—times when God did not answer my prayers with what I wanted—and see where He sent me what I needed or what the person I was praying for really needed.
I spoke about my grandfather’s death in my blog “The Thin Veil.” I prayed he would be cured and survive, but he did not. When I reflect on that time, my grandfather had a great conversion during his last month of life and chose to be baptized Catholic, go to confession, receive his First Communion, and receive the Anointing of the Sick. He received all of these sacraments two weeks before he passed away. God did not cure his illness as I requested, but instead God saved his soul. My grandfather hadn’t practiced any faith for most of his life. What a gift that in his final days he was given the opportunity to receive so much grace!
Upon waking from my own death, I knew more than ever that God is everything He promises to be. He is a man of His word. He may not answer our prayers the way we desire, but He never promised He would. He promises to never abandon His children.
I invite you to look back into your times of suffering, when you prayed for a certain outcome that you did not receive, and discover where the Lord was. What needs did He fulfill that you may have overlooked?
As I, myself, am re-examining these prayers in my own life, I am in awe of how great the Lord has worked even when I wasn’t paying attention.
I will leave you with this scripture passage to ponder and reflect on:
Rom 8:35,37-39- Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.