“One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.” Luke 18:1 (NLT)
I was 38 years old when Barry and I were married. Because of my age, we took the business of getting pregnant very seriously, but as happens to many women, each passing month was another disappointment.
For the first time in my life, I found myself longing for a child. I prayed and prayed and prayed.
Then it happened. When I saw the positive sign on the pregnancy test, I dropped it. It lay wrong-way up on the bathroom floor, and I was afraid to pick it up in case I was wrong. Finally I had the courage to pick it up — and there was that little plus sign — we were expecting!
The first few weeks of my pregnancy were a blur of absolute joy. At our sonogram, we learned the baby was a boy. We were so happy. Then one phone call interrupted our happiness. I would be 40 years old when our baby would be born, and my doctor asked for additional tests, one being an amniocentesis. When the results came back, she asked us to come to her office.
I’ll never forget that day.
We sat on one side of her desk as she sat on the other with a brown folder in front of her. I don’t remember everything she said, but I remember this: “Your baby is incompatible with life.”
I stared at her as if she were speaking a foreign language. Barry and I sat in silence, stunned. Then she said something that snapped me back into reality. She said she recommended performing a termination the following day. “No!” I said vehemently. “Absolutely not. This little one will have every day God has planned for him to live.”
We drove home in silence. There was nothing to say.
I didn’t know how to pray. I’d asked God for this little one, and now he might be gone before I could hold him. How do you pray when it feels as if everything is going wrong? How do you pray when God gave you what you asked for, but it’s not what you hoped for? Perhaps you prayed for a husband, and now you struggle with a difficult marriage. Or you prayed for a new opportunity at work, and now you wish you could go back to where you were.
Over the next few weeks, I cried countless tears, but then one day turned the tide for me. My early-morning reading was from Luke 18 where Jesus told His friends to pray and never give up. “One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up” (Luke 18:1), and He shared the parable of the persistent widow.
I drove to the beach where we were living at the time. The beach was deserted; my only companions were seagulls. Taking my shoes off, I walked to the edge of the water and prayed like I’d never prayed before, out loud to the wind, the waves, the birds and to my Savior.
Dear Jesus! My heart is aching. I don’t understand this at all, but I just want to declare here and now we are in this together. I’ve always needed You, but I know right now I need You more than I ever have. I don’t know how this will end, but I’m not letting go of You for one moment. You didn’t promise me happiness, but You did promise You would never leave me.
Something shifted inside me. I had no idea how long I could carry our son, but my prayers became relentless, not for a perfect outcome but for the presence of a perfect Father. (In my 35th week of pregnancy, my doctor called to tell me she’d made a mistake. Another patient’s result went into my chart and mine into hers. So now every year on my son’s birthday, I pray and pray for the other mother who got a very different phone call.)
I don’t know what kind of battle you’re facing right now, dear sister. It may be for a child, your family, your marriage, your health or your very sanity, but I want you to know this: When we pray and refuse to give up, our circumstances might not change, but we’re changed by the love of our Father who never lets us go.
Lord, You know the burdens I’m carrying. Sometimes I’m tempted to stop praying because I don’t see the answer I want, but today I choose to believe You love me and You are listening. So I will pray and pray and never give up. Thank You for never leaving me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.