“God please heal Amanda,” I prayed as I had done countless times before. Like a beggar, I came before God asking for his mercy in healing our daughter.
It was August 14, 2001. For eight trying months, we had fasted, prayed, begged, and wept, seeking God’s favor in healing our sweet daughter. Time and time again we faced death as the doctors and nurses tried to resuscitate her. On more than one occasion we heard Code Blue called and watched as the doctors and the nurses ran to our little Amanda’s room. Surgeries and invasive procedures were performed in an attempt to save her life.
“Please, God, heal Amanda,” we continued to pray. Like David, in Psalm 56 we asked God to catch our tears in a bottle. We did everything we could and the doctors and nurses did all they could. Now it was up to God. Would he hear our prayers? Would he heal our Amanda?
On August 14 God did answer our prayers. He healed Amanda. However, it was not in the way we had desired. Seventeen years ago today, Amanda died.
At first, it was difficult to understand why God had not answered our prayers. But now as we look back we realize how perfectly God did answer our prayers. He had healed her in his own way. She would no longer suffer. The shots that they had given her daily were no longer needed. The little marks on her legs would no longer be there. Her seizures ended. Her pain was gone. Amanda was healthy.
When we sat in the hospital watching her suffer we often wondered if she would ever walk or run like other children. On the day when God healed her, I imagined her walking on streets of gold and running into the arms of Jesus. As much as we longed for her body to be healthy, we could not have imagined that God would make her completely whole and that she would never suffer again.
Heaven has become more real since that day seventeen years ago. I am 44 years old now and I often think about the reunion that we will one day enjoy with our healed daughter. I am reminded that in heaven there will be no goodbyes. I am looking forward to seeing my Saviour. I am also looking forward to seeing our Amanda. Those of you who have only heard about her will meet her there in her healed body.
Our experience with Amanda taught me a very important lesson of which I am reminded on this day. God decides how he gets the glory. We hoped that he would choose to heal her in order to get the glory. It was our desire that her life would be a reminder that God answers prayer and performs miracles. In our minds, it was Amanda’s healing that would glorify and magnify our God. But we were wrong. It was not Amanda’s life that would bring glory to God, rather it would be her death.
On that day when God healed Amanda, I became aware that God’s grace is sufficient. II Corinthians 12:9 tells us, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
So, how did we survive the death of our child? How did we come to believe that her death was his way of healing her? How can I have the faith to share this anniversary not with sorrow but with gladness? It is simple. God’s grace is sufficient.
No matter what you may be facing, may our story remind you that the grace of God will be sufficient for you. It may not be in the way you desire or hope. It may not meet the expectations you have. But God does not always align his purpose with ours. Sometimes he chooses to answer us completely different from what we had hoped.
My friend, God is in complete control. Whatever you are dealing with today he is sufficient and his grace will sustain you. You may not understand why God did not answer your prayers the way you had hoped. May I offer my daughter Amanda as a testimony to you? Don’t try to dictate what God does in answering your prayer. Trust him that he will do what is best. Lean on him for his grace and know that His grace WILL be sufficient for you.
Pastor Neal, through his preaching and his counseling, displays the compassionate heart of a pastor, follows the true leading of the Holy Spirit, and expresses a fervent desire to see lost souls come to know Christ. It is his ultimate desire to see the greater Jacksonville area reached for the cause of Christ and for revival to come to Northeast Florida.