Today I prayed one of the most difficult prayers I have ever offered. The wife of an elderly man called me today. She asked if I would come to their home to pray for him. He is dying of cancer. The doctors can do no more to help him. The cancer will take his life…sooner rather than later. Visible, wrenching pain contorts his body and causes tears and open weeping. And so I went to pray with him.
I believe in miracles. Salvation itself depends upon the belief in miracles. Paul tells us that “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and BELIEVE that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” The resurrection of Christ bids us to believe in the supernatural work of God.
I even believe that God heals. I can’t always explain it. However, I am certain God periodically intervenes, in various means, to restore the health of particular individuals.
I am also certain He does not heal everyone. That led me to my prayer this morning. I held the hand of a man who was suffering. Wracked with pain. I looked at the tear-stained face of his bride of 66 years. I can’t imagine. I don’t want to. He looked at me and said “Why is it taking so long for me to leave this place. I am ready to go. But I am not ready to face more pain.” She said she was ready to let him go. A long, beautiful life together…staring the end in the face.
I stumbled through this prayer. It was awful. And it was glorious. I prayed that God would relieve his pain and take him home.
Will He? I don’t know.
I know, there is a lot more theological reflection to be done on a huge subject like this.
The end is almost always hard.
God remains good despite suffering.
It reminded me of the Scripture memory verse for our church this week – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
My friend will die soon. God will be with him when he does. At least in part, that is what makes God so good, don’t you think? I pray so, even though it is difficult.