Just a week ago we were praying for a man called "Big Dave" by his friends. He had been shot and robbed in Haiti while working on a project to build an orphanage. He had taken himself to the hospital he helped build, where he had two surgeries before he was medivaced to Miami for further surgery. People from around the world were storming the heavens for this man of God and his family, yet big Dave died even with good medical care and the hard fight by his body to survive.
When I googled this incident to gather information for our prayer group, I saw that another young missionary was shot in Haiti that same week. He also had two surgeries in Haiti before being medivaced to Miami, but he is at home now recovering. Their circumstances were so parallel, yet one lived and the other died.
At first I found myself pondering the senselessness of these acts. And then I turned to the questions. Why, with thousands around the world praying for Big Dave, did he die? Why did the young man with the same injuries and circumstances as Dave, live?
There are many schools of thought on prayer and how God responds to our petitions to Him. I am not going to go into them here, but I am going to share what my husband Joel and I believe. Those beliefs have changed over the years...including the past few months. God is always teaching us.
I don't begin to understand why some prayers are answered one way and others are answered another. I would not want to presume I know anything about the mysteries of God. I cannot contain my God in a box of my own making. I would not ever tell anyone it was God's will for their loved one to suffer or to die. I do not believe that God sits in the Heavens and decides each day who will be healed and who will not. He desires His best for all His children. He desires healing for all His children the same way He desires salvation for all His children. This is what I believe today.
We do live in a broken world where suffering happens, and disease strikes. We do live in a broken world where broken people do bad things to good people....and good people die. Even when thousands of people from around the world are praying for healing...for a miracle.....good people still die. I do not know why, I just try hard to trust God and focus on what I DO know.
I know that our God is sovereign. I know God loves ALL His children. God hears our prayers. God weeps when we weep. He rejoices when we rejoice. The Bible tells us we are never alone. He was with Big Dave when he was shot and when He died. This I know. There are mysteries of God we will not understand, but His love and forgiveness we DO understand.
We can rely on His Word. God has a plan for our lives, a plan for good and not for evil. He wants us to pray. In fact the Bible says to "pray without ceasing". So in obedience we pray. We pray believing our prayers matter. When Big Dave's wife wrote on Carebridge to share that he had died, she also pleaded with people to not stop praying. She said there is great power in prayer. And she is right. She also shared that if anyone reading her words did not know Jesus as their personal Savior, that this was the day they should ask Him into their hearts.
Yes, it matters if we pray. Personally, I have seen healings take place when others pray. Our prayer group rejoices often with praises to our Lord for the many answers to prayers we see. This is where I try to keep my focus, while leaving the rest up to God. It matters. Even with the mysteries that surround our prayers at times, they DO matter.
It matters when we pray.