For months after my baby girl died, I struggled with prayer. I felt so hurt and betrayed that Heavenly Father hadn’t answered my prayer to let her live. I felt confused when I saw that He had saved other people’s babies but not mine. I couldn’t bring myself to pray for even the simplest things because I would think “well if He wouldn’t answer the most important prayer I’ve ever had, then why does it even matter if He answers my silly prayer to find my keys or to have a good day”. I felt so angry that my prayers for my baby were ignored.
I wish I could explain how broken and hurt I was. I tried to read talks on prayer and scriptures about prayer and ask people their thoughts on prayer. I was never satisfied with any of their answers. Why didn’t He answer my prayer when He had responded to my friends and family’s prayers that their babies would be safe? Why hasn’t He answered my parents’ petitions for my brother to be healed? (I have a brother with lots of health issues.) Why doesn’t He answer so many of our desperate pleading prayers?
A Broken Path
I’ve always believed in God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet, my faith in His love for me has been an extremely broken path. So often I have heard “God answers prayers.” Because of the challenges of the last few years, it’s been hard to hear this and, quite frankly, not roll my eyes.
In church, people would share examples about how they prayed to find something like their passport and then find it and how it strengthened their testimony of prayer. It’s hard to swallow when you’ve held your dying baby in your arms and begged God for a miracle. Twice. Only to end up trying to think of what you should write on their headstones.
The Answer I Wasn’t Expecting
One day I was driving in the car, and I was crying about feeling so abandoned by God. I didn’t understand how I could ever have faith in prayer again when I clearly heard a loud voice in my head. “I did answer; my answer was no.” I sat there at a red light, completely shocked. My mouth fell open. “I did answer; my answer was no.”
His answer was no. I prayed that my little baby would live, and His answer was no. He didn’t leave me; He just gave me a hard answer that I didn’t want.
The answer was always there in that simple phrase. God answers prayers. Not “God answers your prayers and gives you what you want.” Not “God grants your wish.” But God answers prayers, and very often, you don’t get the answer you want.
And what about our promise? We promise to accept His will. To accept His will no matter how unfair it seems. He promises that all will be made right in Heaven.
I realized it was true, He had answered my prayer. It was an answer I hadn’t been ready to accept, and so for months and months, I didn’t. I didn’t for one second ever think that I had received an answer until that moment.
Finding Gratitude for Moments of Peace and Comfort
I started thinking about the prayers that were more obviously answered. He gave me comfort and many moments of peace. He blessed us financially. A friend set up a Gofundme. Someone else gave me a car. A CAR. A therapist offered us unlimited free appointments. Our family came to our rescue. We had help. We didn’t have the answer we wanted, though. That’s not really how life works.
Now, we have to accept the plan, move forward, and remember the lessons we’ve learned. Just like I say no to my 18-month-old daughter, God says no to me. And sometimes I cry, and I cry, just like my little girl cries when I put her in her car seat. That’s part of our life on Earth. Sometimes He says no, for reasons I don’t understand. I choose to trust Him no matter the answer.
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