Ecclesiastes 3:1 – To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. (NKJV)
On June 15th, 2015, one of my two remaining sisters, three years my junior, was admitted to the hospital. At that time, she was suffering from an undisclosed intestinal problem. She was unable to eat properly, and she was dehydrated. The plan was to check her out, to hydrate her, and to strengthen her with regular meals and appropriate medication.
Various tests were performed, X-rays were taken, and an MRI was done. It was determined that she needed an operation, but she was too weak, and she would have to get stronger first. The internist prescribed a way to do this, and the surgeon was on standby to perform the required surgery. As time went by, she did not seem to improve. A therapist and a dietician were consulted, and together with the surgeon and the internist, they decided on a course of action. The long and the short of it was that she was not getting any better, and on September 15th, three months to the day that she was admitted, she died.
Many people had prayed for her every day, family members as well as people at her church. My wife and I, and sometimes I alone, visited her on a regular basis. We discussed her faith life, and she stayed optimistic for the whole time that she was in the hospital. After each visit, we held hands and prayed together. She really appreciated that, and she called me her spiritual advisor.
We were sure that with the good care that she was getting, her positive attitude, and the many, many prayers which were said for her, she would recover, but it was not to be, and I struggled with that. She was a faithful person, a widow for 23 years, strong-willed, and wanting to live. At times, words failed me; I was spiritually tongue-tied at times, but I was aware that in my shortcomings, the Spirit would be with us.
Romans 8:26 – Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (NKJV)
At times like this, we come to the realization that not all our prayers are answered the way we want, but that there is indeed a time and a place for everything. As her life came to an end, we did know that her suffering was over, as Scripture says:
Revelation 21:4 – And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. (NKJV)
Today, you, too, may be struggling with unanswered prayer. If so, do not give up hope, but continue to trust in the One Who is hope itself, and He will be your strength to see you through, no matter what the outcome.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, as we are involved in and touched by the passing of loved ones, we ask that You would comfort us with the promises in Your Word, and give us the right words to comfort all involved. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "O Worship The King" (Lyrics)