…and the Lord said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter. ~Deuteronomy 3:26

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. ~1 Corinthians 13:12

Hi friends,

This post is for those of us who have earnestly sought the Lord for answers. This is for the frustrated person who doesn’t understand why God could simply ignore their pleas. It’s for those of us who are discouraged because we’re doing everything we’re “supposed to do,” and God is still seemingly quiet.

Or is He?

Ten years ago, my mother passed away. This was an extremely traumatic event in my life. My mother–a prayer warrior and devoted mother–lived with us in an apartment we had built above our garage. It was a great living arrangement. She was such a blessing in our lives. Sure, there were times when we might not have seen eye-to-eye, but overall, those few years were such a gift. However, my mom had this habit of waiting for me to come home from work. She was retired, and she probably looked forward to some socialization with her daughter. I, on the other hand, had spent all day teaching high school students, so when I came home, I needed some time to gather my thoughts and relax. I had mentioned this to my mom a couple times. I asked if she could wait about an hour, and then pop over for a conversation. Normally, this arrangement worked well. One time, after a stressful day, I pulled up to the house, and she was waiting for me. She asked if I wanted to go to the store with her. “No, I’m good. Thanks.” I walked into my house and had yet to set down my book bag and laptop case before she walked right in and began to tell me about her day. My patience was thin, but I didn’t want to take it out on my mom, so I asked, “Mom, I’ve had a stressful day. I just need some time. Can we talk later?”

“Sure, hon.” And she left.

That was the last conversation I had with her.

The next day, my friend called me to check in on my mom because she never showed for her volunteer hours at the radio station. That was not like my mom at all. When I went to check on her, the smell of excrement hit my nose as I climbed the stairs. My heart raced, panic set in. My mother was face first on the floor beside her bed. In the minutes and hours that followed, I was in a constant state of shock and prayer and weeping and prayer and making phone calls and prayer. Mom was still breathing, and I just knew that God was going to pull her out! That night, I was alone with her in the hospital room. I held her hand and sang to her. She had yet to come out of the diabetic coma, but my prayers were full of faith and some desperation. I vividly remember the moment while praying that I heard God speak to me. His words: “I have called her home.” A few days later, she was taken off of life support.

That’s it. I felt the finality of it immediately. I wept. Even though I felt God in that moment in such a powerful way, I became angry. He was telling me no? But why? My mom loved the Lord. She served Him with such intensity that it convicted me on many occasions. She was only 65. It didn’t make sense! Then I started thinking about all the Bible verses where God answers prayer. “Well, He didn’t answer this!” I angrily said whenever I thought about it.

When I say I was angry at God, I mean I was angry. I’d weep bitter tears into the night…when no one was around. I’d sit on the church pew for months after it while the anger brewed deep inside of me.

God had told me no, and I wasn’t okay with it.

I write these words because I’ve been there in the struggle and despair. But by the grace of God, I found my way out. How did it happen? How did I let go of the anger and hurt and disappointment I felt toward God? One word: surrender.

I’ve found that most of us will do one of two things when faced with great difficulties and mountains that confront us. We will either run from God, or we will run to Him. I was in the downward spiral of running from Him. Until I was in my mom’s apartment packing her things. I found her Bible sitting by her chair. I sat down and opened the Word. The Bible was full of all of her notes. As I began to read through them, I couldn’t stop the tears. I felt reassured in that moment that she was exactly where she needed to be: in the arms of our Savior. She was truly home. She had fought the good fight of faith, and she had truly received the victory. I knew I had a choice to make. I had to let the anger go, or it would consume me. I made the choice to let go of the questions, the hurt, the anger, and I chose to surrender to the will of God.

And I’m so glad I did. I can’t imagine living my life without Him. More than that, if I had made the wrong choice, how would that have impacted my sons, my husband, or those I’ve encouraged along the way?

There are going to be times when God says no. It will be definitive. He won’t be open to debate. And each time this happens, we have a choice to make. Will we become upset at His answer and walk away, or will we surrender to His will and say, Let it be so, Lord. Let your will be done.¬†

I’m praying for you–whoever reads this–that you will be reminded of the goodness of God even in dark times. He truly is compassionate and faithful. His answer might be no, but He knows what He is doing.

Love,

Janice