Does God Answer Prayer? You Bet He Does!
When I embarked on the search for my birth mother, just around this time twelve years ago, I had absolutely no way of knowing what doors would open. There were no warning labels, no flashing red lights, no “do not pass go” directions…all I had was that gut feeling that God was giving me permission to proceed.
But, I was scared. And yes, while I know we’re supposed to pray without ceasing, which means, well, all the time, sometimes I forget. I don’t pray in the grocery store before deciding which brand of toothpaste to buy. I don’t pray before I cross the street. I do pray when I’m sitting on an airplane, strapped in, listening to the sound of the engines building as we rumble down the tarmac. I do pray on the way down and each time we hit a bump. I pray when I’m in a car on a busy freeway. I pray when I’m scared. A lot. But this is all kind of beside the point. The point is, I embarked on this search believing God was behind my desire to search and I trusted Him to lead the way.
He did. My search ended about two weeks after it began. My journey did not. Unbeknownst to me, there were many miracles left to be revealed. Many mysteries to be solved. Many that wouldn’t be.
One of the biggest miracles on my journey was the discovery that I had a sister. I grew up as an only child and always wanted a sibling, so this was incredible news! But then I got scared again. I knew that she didn’t know about me, and I didn’t know how she’d react. I knew that my birth mother didn’t want to tell my sister about me, and I definitely knew how that would go down if I went ahead and did it anyway. Suffice to say, this was one of the most difficult, trying times in my life. I wanted more than anything to reach out to my sister, to see if there was a chance at a relationship, but I knew the time was not yet right.
And so I prayed.
Sometimes when you’re desperate, prayer is the only thing you can do.
It was one of those very surreal situations where, while I didn’t understand why, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was not meant to make contact with my sister. But every single bit of me wanted to. Deep down I just knew…I knew that we were meant to know each other. Creepy, weird, visionary, whatever you want to call it, it was definitely one of those you know that you know that you know things. But I also knew God was saying ‘wait’. And it sucked.
When God tells you to do something you don’t want to do, what do you do?
Well, you can run like heck in the opposite direction. I’d already been there, done that, a few times in my life, so I kind of knew how that option would turn out. Or you can choose to be obedient. Having had the privilege of watching God work some amazing miracles in our lives just a few years prior, I figured obedience would be my best bet. So, I hung out and waited. For approximately fourteen months.
About halfway through that waiting period, I just couldn’t take it anymore. Out of desperation, I attempted to contact my sister via a letter. No response. I was crushed. And guilty because I’d gone ahead and done things on my own, knowing I wasn’t supposed to. So maybe she didn’t want to know me. And maybe that’s what I deserved.
I remember crying out to God one day, literally, in tears, asking him why. Why couldn’t I just pick up the phone and end this right now – I could even get on a plane and show up on my sister’s doorstep. I had all the information. I just didn’t have the permission.
Again, I was told no. But this time it was different. This time, in another surreal spiritual moment, I was given three very clear words.
Let. It. Go.
Say what? Oh, yeah. Right. Really?
Once again, I knew I had to obey. You see, when you decide to get in the boat with God, when you decide to follow Him, fully trust Him with every ounce of faith you posses, it’s no longer about doing things your way. Faith is all about trusting. And believing. And knowing that the God you’ve chosen to claim as your Heavenly Father loves you beyond boundaries, beyond breaking point, and He will bring all things together for good. Always.
Not an easy concept to grasp, is it?
Well, I did let it go. I was miserable. Angry. And definitely not in possession of any real understanding of why things had worked out this way. But I got on with my life. I had to. I knew if I didn’t, the whole thing would just make me nuts.
But then something happened. Something so incredible, that to this day I can still feel it. Chills still race through me at the memory.
It was a Thursday. January 23rd, 2003. Around five thirty in the evening. We’d just come home from my daughter’s piano lesson. I went downstairs to check my emails before starting dinner. And that’s when my whole world changed.
There in my inbox sat an email from my sister. The heading?
Communication At Last.
She wanted to know me.
I can’t go into all the whys and hows and wherefores of what brought her to the point of writing that email at that particular time. Suffice to say, God’s timing is everything. While I was moaning and groaning and mourning things that would never be, God was working. Creating circumstances and lining up facts and putting things into place that would prepare us for this moment. Far be it for me to question the mind of God.
All I can tell you is this.
God gives and God takes away. God answers prayers. Sometimes He says no. Sometimes He says wait. Sometimes He floods your soul with a resounding YES, in ways you would never imagine.
Next Wednesday is January 23rd, 2013. Ten years since the day God answered my prayer. Ten years since the day my dream came true. Ten years since the day God gave me my sister.
I’m going to spend the week with my sister. We will celebrate together. We will thank God together. And we will look forward to the next ten years, whatever they may bring. And I know God is smiling. Maybe He’s even laughing, because He knew…long before either of us were even born…He knew this day would come.
And He knew it would be good.