Sunday, December 15, 2013
God Answers Prayer
Baby girl, today you are six months young! Your half-birthday, your unbirthday, your mid-way through your very first year day. We will celebrate today with a cookie cake that you cannot eat but that your brother will thoroughly enjoy. We will celebrate your birth and your life and your health, but most of all we will celebrate one nearly unbelievable were it not for what we've seen truth: God answers prayer.
Baby girl, I am not the one to explain to you the theology of how this prayer thing works. How an all-powerful, sovereign God who formed the stars, spoke them, and knows the depths of the oceans, commands us to pray, to offer up our petitions to Him, and promises to listen. How Jesus says, "Ask and it will be given to you" and how that matches up with "the heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." But I know that the Word says, "Pray without ceasing" and I know that here we are, December come, and God answers prayer.
Baby girl, months and months and months ago, I prayed for this day. I sat with you while you slept and you held my finger and I prayed, wept, for December. Please, Lord, carry us through. Please, Lord, let us see Christmas. Please, Lord, let December come, let all this pass, and let my baby girl still be. I prayed for platelets and pounds and antivirals and appetites. I prayed for nurses and doctors and rest and tests. I prayed for your brother and your ears and your brain and your father. But mostly, most of all, I prayed for December.
Baby girl, today we celebrate a baby unplanned. We were not expecting you, but there you were. (Your mommy even said to your daddy, "Well, this sure is a God thing!" Silly mommy, right? Everything is a God thing.) But you came, and you grew, and I carried you. Then you came and you suffered and we prayed. And sometimes, I could feel the hand of God turn to me, palm out, and say, "Wait, child. Wait while I work." And sometimes I could feel the blessings of God, victories practically raining down on us, and I could see the face of God, beaming with joy, so pleased with His creation. And though we did not plan for you and though when you came, you suffered, now we rejoice. We rejoice for your health. We rejoice for every last ounce you gain. We rejoice that you finally feel well, have room to grow, to become the sweet-souled girl who God knit together in my womb.
Baby girl, we rejoice in all these things, but most of all we rejoice because God answers prayer. Because in June, I prayed for December and here we are. Here we are in December and in ten short days, we will celebrate a baby unplanned (at least to His mother). We will celebrate a baby, given to the world, who came... and suffered. Who bled while His Father held out His hand and said, "Wait, Son. Wait while I work." Who waited to His death. In ten short days, we will celebrate and rejoice with that same baby, grown to a man, who after death, rose again. He lived again and He walked again and He spoke again. And when He spoke, He said, "Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." We celebrate this baby because the Word tells us that right now, in this moment, Jesus sits at the right hand of God the Father and intercedes for us. Intercedes. He intervenes, mediates, serves as our go-between, between us and the Father.
Baby girl, God heard each and every one of my prayers for you because of Jesus. Jesus heard my cries, my pleas for your life, and He turned to the Father and appealed for them all. Obedient to God, He sat to His right and delivered my pleas. He prayed with me and waited with me and wept with me and encouraged me. He held my teary face in His hands and hushed, "Ask and it will be given to you." He reminded me in the scariest of times that He was with me, with you, always. We rejoice for your health and your life because we rejoice in Jesus' birth. We rejoice in His birth and His life and His death because all of that made possible His resurrection to new life. All of that made possible His place by the Father, as the One to hear our prayers and hand them to God. In every answered prayer is a baby in a manger, a man on the cross, a Son shining in the glory of His Father. In every answered prayer is the goodness of God, His mercy, and His love.
Baby girl, your life, all six months of it, by usual standards, has been quite difficult. And I'm not here to tell you that all your troubles are behind you, that life won't throw you any more curveballs. Because that is not the promise in the Word. That is not what God says He will give. But I am here to tell you that despite all the difficulties, all the troubles, all the odds that might stand against you... God answers prayer. I will say it again: God. Answers. Prayer. It is not an illusion of your mind, a grasping at straws, an attempt to form conclusions out of confusing situations. It is a truth and a plan and a reality far greater than what we can see. When the fog rolls in and the road clouds out and you get turned around, not sure you're going the right way or are even on the road at all, remember the promise. Remember the promise of December come. Remember the promise of a baby born. Remember the promise of a Father who hears, even when we can't. Remember the promise of a Love that endured all, that you might endure all. Remember the One who waits for you to call and who will answer when you do.
Baby girl, your life paints a picture of faithfulness. Every celebration of you shoots right up to Heaven. Every celebration of you shines light in the darkest, scariest places. You have seen those places and God has been faithful to show you light. In Jesus is life, and the life is the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. The darkness did not overcome you, nor will it ever, because pleading for you, petitioning for you, going to God for you is One, December come, who is for you. And when He is for you, nothing can be against you. Happy six months, bitty. And praise God for them all!