When God Doesn't Answer Prayers

I wrote in my new journal today. It's really beautiful. The cover is printed with floral designs that are muted in pinks and greens. The binding is threaded so it folds perfectly. And even though the word, "Journal," is stamped in gold for all to see, eventually my two year old will tear out a few pages. The crisp pages filled with lines, wait to hold a story. My story for the next year.

I journal almost everyday, you know, on my

white couch

. It's our time. Me and God. I read His Word and then process how He speaks to me on those pages. They're filled with heart cries. I can be honest there. I'm safe to really be me, because He made me, He knows me better than I know myself. So I pour out my heart. The good, the bad, the ugly, my dreams, my aches, my deepest pain. It's all written in between those lines. I have boxes of journals filled with prayers He has answered. I love looking back at the start of a new year, reminding myself of all the prayers He answered. It's encouraging. I'm reminded of His faithfulness. And there is something powerful in seeing Him hear me.

In those pages are also prayers He hasn't answered. Like this

barren womb

. There are years worth of prayers asking for that healing. I have two beautiful babies sleeping upstairs that are more than I could ever dream. I sometimes have to remind myself I didn't give birth to them. And when I have to check the race box on the doctor's forms, is the only time I remember that our skin doesn't match. They are mine. They are blessings. They have filled the longing in my heart to be a mother, and the way the Lord brought them home to us has been nothing but a beautiful miracle. But those prayers I prayed for

physical healing

, have not been answered.

I knew God was going to heal Micah right in the knick of time before he had to have surgery. Two weeks before, a group of Believers prayed healing over his sweet body. And I felt the Lord touch him. I watched Micah respond. It was real and powerful and we left believing so hard in his healing. And three hours later, we were beating his back again, trying to get him to breathe.

We spent another five days in the hospital not even two weeks after that. The GJ tube we

didn't want him to get,

he got. And for the first time since we have

brought him home

, I haven't lived in constant panic, wondering if he would aspirate and I wouldn't get to him fast enough. I have actually had a few nights where I slept straight through the night. More importantly, he is much more comfortable. He rarely vomits now. And if he does, I now know how to vent his G tube to ease his discomfort.

We made the right decision. We really did. It was ultimately a matter of keeping him alive. But his feeding/speech therapist told me the other day, "As long as he has the GJ tube he will not oral feed." It's because his stomach has shrunk to the size of a newborn's. If we were able to get food in him, his stomach isn't emptying right now, so he would vomit it back up. His oral aversion is so severe we play with spoons without food during therapy. He takes nothing by mouth. Not even water. It's a miracle if he lets us get a finger in his mouth to rub his gums. And we carry his little pump book bag around with us everywhere now, because he has to have continuous feeds. I finally monogramed it, so at least it looks cuter. There are so many kids who have much more serious illnesses. And we are very thankful Micah's isn't as serious. Many children with feeding issues often show signs of neurological problems. We are thankful so far he hasn't shown any other signs of delays. But this new tube is still an unanswered prayer.

Really, God answered our prayer, it just wasn't the answer we were hoping for.

It's hard, isn't, friend? When God doesn't answer our prayers, it's so hard. We know "that nothing is impossible with Him." We believe that He doesn't give his children rocks when they ask Him for bread. He says, "Ask and it will be given to you."

Then we do, and He doesn't. And we're left wondering how to move on. It leaves questions, if we're honest, about Who He is and Who we know Him to be. It's a dangerous place to stay.

So I grab that box of journals, and I read until my eyes are tired of all the times He has answered me. Not only that He has answered me, but how He answered me. It is never the way I imagine, but always more beautiful than I could fathom. I dive deep into His Word and rather than letting doubt sneak in, I preach to myself Truth. All.day.long.

Somewhere between the unanswered prayers in the past and the waiting on Him in the future is this sweet place of rest.

It's there I quit striving. I quit trying to plan everything out. I quit trying to figure Him out. And I just rest there, in Him. The sting of the "No's" or "Not Yet's" is rubbed over with the balm of His nearness.

And my heart decides trusting Him, regardless of His answers, is so worth it.

There aren't enough journals to ever write of His worth.

So I'm learning again that as He tears me down, He will bind me up. As He ruins me, He will heal me.

And tomorrow, I'll meet Him there, on that white couch. I'll breathe in His presence, I'll drink His Word, and I'll be praising Him if He answers the prayers in my journal this year, or not. Because I've seen a glimpse of His worth.

And just that glimpse is enough to trust Him.

"Come, let us return to the Lord, for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth."

Hosea 6:1,3 ESV

*Photos by

Rachel Ackerman Photography

*