Answered Prayers

            Have you ever needed to ask for advice but didn’t know who you should ask? 1 John 5:14 reads, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” God is not just someone who can help, He is the someone, the greatest helper. As the creator of all things, He has the power to help with anything and everything. Also, He is available to His children 24/7, is a good listener, and righteously guides us using the Holy Spirit and His word.

            Jesus tells His disciples in Mark 11:23-24, “Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Does this mean that God will answer every prayer we ask in the way we want it handled? No.

In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matt. 26:39). God knew that the only path for the redemption of mankind was to sacrifice His son, and Jesus trusted the will of His Father. As Christians, we should heed Jesus’ example and trust in God’s will. Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

When I was in the hospital for my descending aorta replacement, I prayed to survive the surgery and have good health for a speedy recovery. I lived and for the first day or so everything seemed great. But then, my health started taking a turn for the worse. I started losing feeling and control of my legs, a wound developed on my back to where you could see my ribs, I was in a lot of pain, I had open wounds on my feet, developed blood clots from my feet to my abdomen, I came close to dying, and for several months I would get out of the hospital only to get sick shortly after and have to go back for weeks. But if I prayed for something virtuous like life and good health and firmly believed, why did all that happen?

James 1:13 (NIV) reads, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.” Like with the thorn in Paul's side, I believe the devil was trying to tempt me to blame others and be angry. I say this because the wounds were caused by pressure and I was reliant on others to help me. Also, bad things happened to where I just haven’t yet discovered the true reason like with Job. I got paralyzed due to the trauma of the surgery that saved my life, no one had any control over that. No matter the reason things happened though, with God I was able to turn them all into positive lessons and experiences.

            Rather than getting angry about my wounds and blaming others, I was able to forgive and remain focused on the bigger goal. I used my time to work as a team with my doctors and nurses to get them healed. Being paralyzed also taught me more valuable lessons than I can count. I have learned how to more effectively communicate and collaborate with others. All the support I received from God, my family, and my church throughout the recovery process reminded me of how much I am loved and grew my faith. No matter what you are facing, relying on God through prayer can help and guide you to complete victory.