It was the spring of 2019, Landon was making a cover song for a singing competition in Nepal. He came into my room to sing his song for me. I’d never heard it before, it was the song by Mercy Me, “Even If.”
As I listened to him sing, I was struck by the words. After he finished I looked up the lyrics and read them as I played the song online. Streams of tears flowed from my eyes, for you see, we had just found out my dad had cancer.
I can remember thinking to myself, “will I still be able to praise Him, if He doesn’t heal my dad.” It was a bitter pill to swallow as I thought on this reality.
Fast forward to the Fall of 2020. Today, as I drove home from the store, I heard this song once again. This time on the radio. And once more I was struck by the lyrics.
For you see, the reality as believers is that we know that God is able and that He can do imeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, yet, sometimes He chooses not to do as we ask or desire.
Spring of 2020, my dad went home to be with the Lord. God could have healed him, as he has healed many others I know with cancer. He could have. He was able to do so. It was not too difficult a thing for Him. Yet, He did not.
I struggled deeply with this in the midst of my dad’s last month, when the cancer had gone to his brain, and he was no longer able to speak or remember. I struggled with this in the weeks after his passing, when the loss was so raw.
To be honest the reality that God was able to heal and did not, made me angry and abandoned at times. I could not understand why it seemed my prayers went unanswered and we were forced to watch the one we loved slip away.
The truth that God is able to do greater things than we can ask or imagine is quite comforting when life is good, but in the midst of trying times when it seems He chooses not to do that which He is able to do is beyond difficult.
Shadrach, Meschach, and Abindigo were ready and willing to be cast into the fiery furnace. They knew and believed that their God was able to protect them and keep them from all harm. Yet, they replied to the king, “even if He does not, we will not bow down to the golden image (Daniel 3:18).”
Last spring when Landon sang this song, after a long cry, I surrendered my dad to the Lord, and told the Lord, I knew He could heal and restore my dad, but that if He chose not to, I would still praise Him.
As the cancer progressed, through his final days, and then after his death, I had to continue to daily surrender to His Lordship in this.
Driving home today, I was reminded once more how difficult it is to truly surrender all to Him. As the lyrics go, “Its easy to sing when there’s nothing to bring me down. But what will I say when I’m held to the flame like I am right now?”
Trusting, surrendering, and having faith aren’t so difficult when life is going well, but trusting, surrendering, and keeping the faith when everything is falling apart is when what we say with our lips is tested by our actions.
Every day I miss my dad. I think of him all the time, and wish I could call him or tell him the latest news. But I know He is in a better place, and I know I will see Him again.
Could God have healed him? Yes
Was He wrong not to do what I prayed? No
Do I understand? Not really
Will I still praise Him? Absolutely
For you see, our God is worthy of our praise whether He answers our prayers or not. He is worthy simply because He is God.
He sees and knows all that the future holds, things we are unaware of, and He always knows what is best.
His best and our best aren’t always the same, but then His ways and His thoughts are indeed higher than our own.
So even if God’s answer is no to the prayer you are praying now? Will you still trust Him? Even if He does things differently than what you desire, will you praise Him?
It is certainly not always easy, yet, He is always worthy, and we can trust Him, because He loves us more than we can fathom and always knows best.