vivek jones

Kingdom Wisdom

"Mama, don't pray… Jesus won't answer!"

Anne and I alternated days between being at the hospital for night duties with John Mark. There was really no rest when we came home because we would have to take care of the other two children. One night, after I put Kathryn, my five year old and Amy, my 1 year old to bed, Anne called in from the hospital. “What’s up honey?”, I asked. She sounded a bit anxious as she explained her predicament. Apparently, a little earlier JM and she had a disconcerting dialogue. When he was in much pain, Anne offered to pray to Jesus in his behalf. We pray everyday. Jesus is our lifeline and so it was commonplace to be in prayer for anything at our home. So there was nothing-new happening in the hospital as we had already prayed several times by his bedside by now. Before Anne started to pray, JM raised an objection. In much pain and with much despair he said, “No Mama, don’t pray! Jesus won’t answer our prayers.” Anne was stumped by such a theological conclusion from a child who had already suffered much pain without experiencing any relief. And so with much pain she called me to tell this.

I was shocked. And I was sad. Deeply. I felt terrible for Anne who had to hear those words from him. After we hung up, I gripped the sides of the sofa as I tensed and felt my heart sink. I felt sick. This was not happening. Till this moment JM had a simple trust in Jesus. In an unquestioned manner he would glibly believe all that was said about Jesus. To him, Jesus was the incomparable superhero who would never fail, no matter what. It was a belief that was never tested. Now he had started questioning Jesus-his power, presence and love. These were central to everything I believed about Jesus. This would probably be the beginning of his life as a skeptic. Oh how I wished he were protected from such doubts at this tender an age! I desperately prayed to God, fighting for JM’s heart. “Please God, don’t draw him away from you!” cried I.

The following night, as I settled into my shift at the hospital, I dreaded broaching any ‘God topic’ with JM, unlike the usual. This time, I was afraid he would spring upon me, his conclusions on God. And I did not know if I could handle that well. Silently, I kept praying. Soon doubts crept into my mind. Why did not God answer our prayers so far? Why is He silent  over our agony? Am I fooling my self with such prayers? Maybe JM is right. Jesus won’t answer prayers. But does not the Bible remind me that Jesus is compassionate and listens and responds to  prayers? A war was waging within as my soul plunged into darkness searching for hope. In my desperation, I opened my treasured book-the Bible, and looked up familiar passages. But nevertheless doubts did slip in. As much as I realised my son’s faith was on a slippery slope, I prayed that I would not slip into unbelief myself.

This went on for a few hours, until my son started crying and moaning in pain. He clutched his head with much agony and cried, “Papa, my head is paining!”. He repeated that over and over again with tears streaming down his face as I stood up and went by his side. I reached out to hold him and I prayed silently. I did not want him to notice that I was praying. He kept agonizing and I kept praying. I did not know what to tell him. The only hope I could give him was in Jesus. But I had no wise counsel to give him. I was afraid and could not speak a word of ‘gospel’ comfort. Time stood still for half an hour. I felt like a hypocrite who had no faith himself and for some reason expected my son to have it. I pleaded with God to give me faith in Him and to pray in faith. Then I remembered Jesus. In Jesus most desperate moment, while at the garden of Gethsemane, the night before he was murdered, he was anxious for what was to come-His betrayal, torture, state execution and more significantly His separation from His Father, God Himself, who would pour His fury upon Him. This was God, the Son, anxious over things God, the Father, had planned for. Yet in his most anxious moments He prayed and submitted to His Father and did not doubt Him. He went boldly into His trials where he finally was crucified the next day. I asked God to give me the same faith Jesus had in His Father, as I wanted to go to the same Father with confidence in prayer in my anxious dark moment. I wanted to trust what God had written in the Bible concerning who He is and what He has promised to His children.

By now my son’s crying had reached a crescendo and I was helpless! Then I looked to Jesus for strength and lifted my hands to hold my son’s head. I told him boldly, “JM, I am going to pray to Jesus because Jesus listens to us and he loves us and he is able to relieve you from your pain.” JM just stared at me with tears in his eyes. I then lifted my voice, crying to Jesus and asked him to spare my son of this intense head pain. I prayed to Jesus, to give both of us the faith that He is a prayer answering God and I asked Him to give us continual grace if he chose to not take the pain away (like what Jesus received while being executed). I also reaffirmed my faith in Jesus’ intrinsic love and goodness. As I finished praying, I noticed that JM was not crying anymore. I slowly opened my eyes to find my son’s eyes tightly shut under my palms as he snugly slept.

prayer

Jesus answered my prayer that day. My son had doubted. And I. In a few days, my son was back to trusting Jesus in the little ways he understood Him. But that day Jesus decided that He would deal primarily with my unbelief…not my son’s. My doubts were submerged under a deluge of Jesus’ care for us that night. Prayer does work. He answered us!

 

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17 Replies

  1. Vivek praise be to God because He alone tests us and He alone is the one who gives us faith to overcome our deepest fears. Will be praying for John Mark tomorrow in our Church. God bless

    1. Vivek Jones

      Kaushal, thanks a lot for committing to pray for us. Only Jesus can come around us in our darkest hours. Wasn’t He there too!

      1. Hi Vivek, we did pray for JM yesterday. May God restore his health to normalcy.

  2. Liju

    Super Vivek !!

    1. Vivek Jones

      Liju,
      Thanks a lot for your support and prayers. God is indeed treating us better than we deserve!

  3. Paul Eapen

    The Lord works in mysterious ways.

    1. Vivek Jones

      Appuchachen, Our Lord indeed works in great mysterious ways! Isn’t that what makes Him God and us mere mortals !

  4. Donald

    Hey Bro,JM’s little faith has driven me to my knees. Praise be to Jesus! With you in tears.

    1. Vivek Jones

      Donald, How I appreciate your heart of compassion and prayer! I truly wish I had more of that!

  5. Ray Adams

    Wonderful testimony of God’s gracious and compassionate heart – infinite love. Thank you.

    1. Vivek Jones

      Ray, God has been making himself more precious to us than we imagined. His love endures forever. Even while we are unfaithful, He remains faithful!

  6. Sunil

    I believe that God is going to touch JM much earlier than VJ was touched.
    For all of us we get carried when our children are at trouble. Please do remember that we are Gods children and his concern for us is much more.

    1. Vivek Jones

      Sunilacha, Thanks for that reminder and for the constant encouragement you were to us while we were at the hospital. Our prayer is precisely that God’s Spirit would convict JM of who his maker is and the need for repentance and turning to his Savior.

  7. Rupali

    In tears as I read this n pray for JM n for ure family, Vivek. What a beautiful lesson learnt thru all this pain. May the Lord remove all our doubts that this world brings our way, however painful they maybe.

    1. Vivek Jones

      Rupali, we are very encouraged by your love and support. My prayer is that God uses my weakness and learning for a slightly larger benefit. His grace endures forever!

  8. Deema Charles

    Dear Vivek n Anne..touched n encouraged by your posts..God’s tender mercies n loving kindness @ work so plainly for all of us to see n reaffirm our faith in Him..May God continue to give u both grace to go thru these difficult times n may He continue to use all of this for His glory alone n to strengthen His children.. God bless!

    1. Vivek Jones

      Deema, thanks for your prayers and encouragement. God has been pursuing us with love and who can complain of that? I am glad the post was a blessing to you too.

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