I cringe when I read or hear people praising God for answered prayers or when life is going well.
Does that shock you?
It’s so easy to say “God is good” when wonderful events are happening, when prayers seem to be answered just as we’ve wanted. But what about when that child we’ve been praying for dies? What about that friend in the middle of cancer treatment who asks for prayer to be well enough to attend his annual family camping trip actually goes camping for one day only to end up back in the hospital discovering the cancer has spread and within 2 weeks he’s gone? Why don’t we say “Praise God” then? Why don’t we hear the rousing, “God is good!”?
I cringe, because it feels as if we are bragging about answered prayers, we are saying, “See how much God loves US”. “He listens to US. He answers our prayers”, as if we have some special connection with God no one else has. But what about that faith-filled family who believed with all their hearts God was going to heal their daughter of cancer only to have her die suddenly in the PICU from pneumonia? Where is the “Hallelujah!” then?
Is God still good even when our prayers aren’t’ answered? Is He still powerful? Is He still loving and kind and all the other “feel good” words we use to describe Him? The answer to all these questions is YES!
When I found myself in a hospital room with my four year old son in the wee hours of a Friday morning, holding him in my arms while he slept fitfully after x-rays and a CAT scan revealed a tumor in his neck, I found myself praying. I was scared and I knew this was something BIG, but all I could think to pray was, “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus.” Why?
It wasn’t because I was happy or grateful my little boy had cancer, it was because I knew God was sovereign. I knew He was all powerful and in control and there with us spiritually. I knew His presence was all around me. Foundationally, I had been taught 1 Thessalonians 5: 17, 18 “pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” God’s desire for me was to pray and give thanks no matter what and so I did. Somehow my response was instinctual.
My journey through childhood cancer hasn’t always been filled with gratefulness. I’ve felt every emotion along the rollercoaster ride of treatment, medical procedures and side effects and haven’t always responded in a righteous manner. But still God wants me to give Him glory to lift up His name. I find this easy to do when it’s a “happily ever after ending”, but I plan to continue praising Him and thanking Him even when there is tragedy and heartache and pain.
Let’s be quick to praise Him when life seems good and when it’s not so good.
Let’s praise Him no matter what…