This is not a book about tragedy followed by intense prayer which brought miraculous restoration, after which everyone lived with joy and thanksgiving forever. Popular books about tragic accidents and near-death experiences are available through an unlimited number of authors and publishers. They do well because most have a happy ending. When we read them, we say, “If it can happen for them, it can happen for us.” There is a common thread that runs through them: a phenomenal account of how God met their prayer of faith with an indescribable response of divine healing. Who would not rejoice and be inspired in reading such accounts of healing or restoration?
Christians and some non-Christians pray for miracles for a couple of reasons. First, Christians pray because they are instructed in Scripture to do that when there is a need that is beyond one’s ability to perform. Secondly, some non-believers think there must be something mystical in prayer. They imagine that lighting a candle can, by some unexplainable means, carry the prayer into God’s presence, making it possible for Him to respond. But, let’s set aside the non-believers’ prayer activity and reasons for now.
The Bible never instructs us to restrain from boldly approaching God’s throne of grace with all our needs. In fact, the opposite is true! Believing that—then and now—we prayed for miraculous healing after our daughter’s accident based on the biblical evidence that God continues to be the God of miracles.
No matter how often, how long, or how intensely we prayed, what we prayed for seemed more elusive than ever. Did God not come through for our daughter and us? Where does that leave us? Should I forget about praying for others?
Where Was God When I Needed Him? addresses that question, but it also raises another question: “What do I do when I’m praying for a miracle, and it doesn’t happen?”
Usually, we try to understand why something happened. Those who are working hard to be helpful and with the best intentions try to ease the pain of those suffering from profound loss. Often these friends come up with comments that do not help. Here are just a few.
• It was just their time to go.
• God needed them more than you do.
• God just said, “No.”
• God always takes the best. He gives and takes away.
• They are in a better place.
I understand that Christians seek to comfort those who have suffered a significant loss with a passage of Scripture. Romans 8:28 is such a promise from God, but it’s very difficult to sort out when you lose a child, a son in the prime of his life, a mother with small babies, or any loss that tears at the heart. In this verse, the apostle declares:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28, ESV, emphasis mine)
The book begins with the loss of life, but not love. It moves into the sport of hang gliding which became cathartic for me in many ways, helping this father and pastor to cope with a life I had not chosen. A significant portion of this book provides a theological understanding of the title question: Where Was God When I Needed Him? It will also address my emotional battle with Romans 8:28 and how I have been reconciled with the “all things” of that verse.
In the final two chapters, I’m dancing across the clouds in the freedom of unending flight. As we journey together, I’m hopeful Romans 8:28, one of God’s great promises, will come alive, lifting you from despair to delight.
And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. (Romans 8:28, AMP)
Come fly with me!