As many of you know, my mom was recently diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer.
Three months ago, perplexing symptoms led to a string of doctors visits, which led to a string of lab tests, which all began to point a suspicious finger towards a possible cancer diagnosis, until one day, my mom received an unexpected call from her gynecologist. The call came several days earlier than when she had expected to hear any sort of news.
My mom hung up with her doctor, called me, and said, “The doctor wants us to come in at 11 to discuss my results with her. Will you come with dad and I?”
I hung up the phone, closed my eyes, and just sat there for a second. And then words came out of my mouth, that I know weren’t my words, but instead were words that were put there, FOR me. “God, just give us what we need”.
It would have made more sense…would have been much more like ME..to pray “God, please don’t let this be cancer”. Or, “God, please let this be good news”, or “God, please somehow get us out of this”. I’ve prayed those prayers, too. Trust me, I have. But they weren’t the first prayers.
The first prayer to spill out of my mouth upon receiving that call, was “God, just give us what we need”.
I didn’t mean it in a “give us the news we want to hear” kind of way. I meant it in a “dole out to us whatever it is YOU think we need, moment by moment, AS we need it, while we likely begin taking the first steps into this scary new place”.
What did we need? I didn’t know. Courage? Good news? Peace? The right words to say? A game plan? A second opinion? An opportunity to put our faith into action? The ability to still believe that God is good? A positive prognosis?
I didn’t know. I still don’t. All I know, is that ever since that life-altering moment when it was confirmed that my mom most definitely does have cancer..almost every time I have a moment of silence..a moment to think..a moment to pray….this is the sentence that unconsciously pops into my consciousness. “God, give us what we need”. “Give my mom what she needs”. “Give my dad what he needs”.
It’s as though God is TELLING me what He wants me to pray.
I think it’s the very best prayer anyone could pray, and I’m thankful God has prompted me to pray this way.
You see, this whole concept of God’s will and God’s plan, and how it can be reconciled with bad things that happen, is all so bewildering. It’s complicated. For us anyway. Not for God.
We need my mom to be healed….but we also need God to give us faith and strength and peace that is not based on circumstances. That’s hard. How do we do that? (God, give us what we need)
My mom needs to have the freedom to be sad, and angry. To grieve this diagnosis and be PISSED OFF if she wants…but she doesn’t need to drown in that. She needs to have faith and hope and strength…to still live life, and experience joy. To find contentment even in the very midst of her circumstances, while also believing that God absolutely can heal her. How does she balance all of that? (God, give her what she needs).
Everyone was so worried at first about how this difficult news would affect my sister, who is fighting valiantly to maintain sobriety.
Would the news of my mom send her back into a self-destructive spiral?
Or…maybe the news would breathe fresh life and purpose into her sobriety..resolidify her decision, because….”I have to stay strong, so that I can love and support and encourage my mom well”.
Which would it be? Which WILL it be? I don’t know, so I simply pray:
“God, just give her what she needs.”
Tomorrow, my mom goes into surgery. The surgery she was not able to have three months ago, because her tumor was too large. I know she is nervous, and I know there are many unknowns, but the prayers I am already praying for her is “God, give her what she needs”. As she goes to bed tonight, most certainly full of worry and fear, “give her what she needs”. As we wait in the waiting room tomorrow for the surgery to be over, full of wondering and full of questions, “God, give us what we need”. As the doctors prepare to make their very first incision and take their very first look “God, give them what they need”.
There is a quote from Elizabeth Elliot, that has always stuck with me:
“I know of no greater simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned. Every assignment is measured and controlled for my eternal good. As I accept the given portion other options are cancelled. Decisions become much easier, directions clearer, and hence my heart becomes inexpressibly quieter.”
Lord, You have assigned my portion and my cup, and have made my lot secure (Ps16:5).
Not many people pray this way. We pray for the things WE want, the things WE (think we) need. We don’t typically have a proper understanding of the full picture, though.
You want to know the very best way to make sure your prayer ALWAYS gets answered? Ask the One who ACTUALLY knows what you need, to SUPPLY you with what you need.
Will you join my family in lifting my precious mom up in prayer tomorrow. Pray for a wildly successful surgery….
….and pray for God to give her, and all of us, what we need.
(By the way, so far, He already has)