The last few posts have been reflections on events surrounding the accidental gunshot wound I suffered back in 1984. The main thrust of these posts has been on living a fully surrendered life to Jesus. Self is at the root of all of mans deepest problems! Learning how to die to self is a necessary step to becoming a fully developing follower of Christ.
I’m sure I will have occasion in the future to ponder and write some more regarding my accident… but, for now… I have one last story I’d like to share.
A story about a godly woman who prayed a selfless prayer
My family lived in Altamont, Utah, at the time of my accident. A few days prior to my accident, my parents had driven to Texas to pick up my nephew and nieces for summer vacation. They were still in Texas when they received the call informing them of my accident. My sister, Kathy, was the one who had to make that call to my parents from the hospital that night. I know it was one of the most difficult calls my sister ever had to make!
Hearing of the news, my parents made arrangements for my mom to fly in to Salt Lake City on the very next flight available. She would travel to Lubbock and wait through the dark hours of the night into the early morning hours for her flight to prep, board, and depart for Dallas, in order to make the connecting flight to Salt Lake City.
My dad stayed in Texas. He was able to listen in on the phone as a nurse at the hospital in Salt Lake City gave him moment by moment updates on what was happening as the team performed my open heart surgery. He knew long before morning that there was reason for optimism. Once the team finished my surgery, Dr. Ford gave my dad an update. I still had hours and days ahead of me… but, I had survived and the outlook was hopeful.
But, my mom at this point was on a plane headed to Dallas where she would make the connecting flight to Salt Lake City. The whole long, dark night… she sat waiting, armed with little more than the knowledge that I’d been shot in the heart and was critically wounded.
Have you ever had something happen where you enter into what can only be explained as a sort of time warp? It’s a place of existence where, for the one inside the bubble, time slows to a crawl. The hustle and bustle of life might be happening all around, but you become unaware of the existence of anyone or anything. Gasping for breath, the sound of each single heart beat reverberates—deafening—no other sound or noises register. You are isolated and alone in a dark void of shock and grief. It’s an agonizing place.
My mom spent about twelve hours in her time warp. Her trip from West Texas to Utah gave her lots of time alone with only her thoughts and her God. Her greatest desire was simply for me to be ok. I am, after all, her baby! And, let’s be honest… I’m probably her favorite of the six children she gave birth to! No, I’m kidding. My mom has no favorites (except for me). :)
While traveling through the empty spaces of those twelve hours, my mom prayed, and prayed… and prayed. She so desperately wanted to say, “God, please heal my little boy! Just let him be ok! Don’t let him die!”
And, what’s really wrong with a prayer of that sort?! Why shouldn’t we ask God for the things we want most? Aren’t we encouraged to do so, “ask, and you shall receive…” Doesn’t Luke 11:9-12 seem to be the “ok” we need for justifying the prayer that asks God for the things that suit our hopes and dreams?
In Philippians 4:6, we are encouraged to pray rather than worry—to, "let petitions and praises shape our worries into praying, letting God know our concerns.”
Jesus, while in the garden, spoke His desires to God while wrestling with the coming difficulty of the cross. He asked the Father to, “let this cup pass.” But, He followed those words with a statement that painted a clearer picture of His truest heart motive: “But, Your will be done, not mine.”
There is nothing wrong with letting God know what’s on your heart and mind. There is nothing wrong with asking God to allow a certain outcome. BUT, in all things... God knows what is truly best for us. The surrender of ones heart and will to His perfect sovereignty in all things is a beautiful act of trust. Our "petitions and letting God know of our concerns" must be done so under the umbrella of, “but Lord, Your will be done, not mine.”
YOUR will, not mine
This was the formula my mother used for her prayers regarding me during those twelve hours in the dark. She could have prayerfully insisted that God deliver on only an outcome she most desired. She could have prayed, “God, don’t You let my little boy die!”
She, however... did not.
Instead, in her prayers she did the very best thing she could have done for me—she gave me back to the Father. She acknowledged that... I belonged to Him. She was thankful and grateful for the gift I had been in her life. And, she still wanted desperately for me to be ok. But, her deepest heartfelt prayer was, "Lord, Your will, not mine be done."
She prayed a very selfless prayer. Everything in her wanted to beg and plead and bargain… but, instead, she did just as her Master had done in the garden. And, in a beautiful act of trust, she surrendered her will to His. She placed everything that was most precious to her in His hands and said, “Your will be done.”
I love my momma. She is a very special lady. She has taught me so much about God and of love and grace. She also taught me by her example what it is to live fully surrendered to Jesus—to trust His purpose and plans, even in times when seemingly everything around us was falling apart.
How is your prayer life looking?
Are your prayers based more on the desire for specific outcomes than they are on a posture of simple trust? No matter the answer, the good news is… it’s never too late to begin anew!
Begin each day with a proper context from which to frame the events of your days. Spend time with the Father in prayer. Embrace the truth that God loves and cares for you deeply! That He has good in store for you. Then the definition of “good” can take shape in the light of understanding God’s love and commitment to you!