When God Doesn't Answer
On Wednesday, February 28 I found myself in a place I would have never imagined. As I stood on the concrete driveway outside our house, the sound of sirens pierced the air and my teeth chattered from more than just the cold.
In my arms I held tightly to the baby I had delivered only five weeks earlier, a sweet little boy who looked just like his older brothers. Earlier that afternoon I had nursed him while sitting around our dining room table so I could chat with my daughter as she threw together a batch of banana bread. It was the last time I held him alive.
When I went upstairs to wake him from his nap, I saw his face and in an instant my world stopped. I just knew. Screams ripped from my throat as I picked him up. I wanted to turn back time and throw something and break everything in sight all at the same time. This couldn’t be happening. This wasn’t real.
At some point during this I found myself on the phone with 911.
Now I was standing outside in the freezing cold as the ambulance drove right past our house, trying to explain to the operator that they were going the wrong way. They had changed the road name a year prior but apparently the old address was still in their system. The operator assured me they would be right back, intermittently trying to tell me to calm down. I was crying and just kept saying “no, my baby!” again and again. It was the only thing I could say.
After what seemed a lifetime later, the ambulance parked in front of our house and a team of paramedics came rushing out. I don’t remember a single one of their faces, but I clung tightly to their words as I handed over my precious baby. “We’re here ma’am. Everything’s going to be ok.”
I held on to those words like a lifeline as I stood there, arms wrapped around my daughter as we cried. I felt a sudden spark of hope within me. Maybe it wasn’t as bad as what I’d thought. Maybe everything really was going to be ok.
And as I stood there, I began to pray. Desperate cries that God would return breath to his little body. That God was all powerful and He could fix him. And surely He would want to, right?
Except He didn’t. I saw that moments later as they asked me to go in the ambulance and look at him one last time. I didn’t even touch him. I just stared in shock at what had been only hours before a seemingly healthy baby.
God hadn’t answered. At least not in the way I’d expected.
My husband was in Green Bay at the time everything happened. He told me later that he had been praying for me on the way back. That God would give me comfort in the midst of the most difficult moments of my life.
And, somehow, I found it in the arms of my precious twelve-year-old daughter. Looking back, it was as though a different person was speaking. She was no longer a little girl. She’d grown up in an instant right before my eyes.
“Mom, this is not your fault. You are an amazing mother. God is with us and I love you!” And the entire night she stuck by my side, hugging me, praying with me, crying with me.
Maybe sometimes the answer to our prayers isn't a simple yes or a no. Maybe it goes beyond our situation and our limited understanding.
Prayer is not a "wish fulfillment" hotline. It's not a place we go to communicate to God our every desire so He can know how to "correctly" lead our lives. And to be honest, that's something I've messed up a lot in my own life.
Instead, it's a place where we go to get our lives in line with His will. To correct our thinking and our lives so we are in accordance with His purpose.
If you are facing a situation in your life that has you doubting God's goodness, wondering where you went wrong, or questioning how this can all be part of His plan, I hope that you will surrender all those hard questions in to His hands.
The situation doesn't have to make sense. The plan doesn't have to look "good." The answers don't have to add up.
When it seems like God isn't answering, maybe the answer is simply found in Him.