When God Answers for Eternity, But Not in the Now
By: Brianne Edwards
“. . . 𝘐 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘵 𝘢𝘯 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘯𝘰 𝘸𝘢𝘺 𝘢𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘢𝘴 𝘢 𝘧𝘶𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘭 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘤𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘤𝘳𝘰𝘴𝘴𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘮𝘦. 𝘐 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘤𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘪𝘵 𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘸𝘢𝘵𝘤𝘩 𝘪𝘵 𝘨𝘰 𝘣𝘺 𝘪𝘯 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘤𝘳𝘶𝘦𝘭 𝘤𝘰𝘴𝘮𝘪𝘤 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮 𝘰𝘧 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘥𝘰𝘸𝘪𝘯𝘨. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 [𝘪𝘯𝘷𝘪𝘴𝘪𝘣𝘭𝘦] 𝘮𝘢𝘯 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘶𝘯𝘣𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘸𝘦𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘮𝘦𝘵 𝘮𝘺 𝘨𝘢𝘻𝘦. 𝘛𝘪𝘮𝘦 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘻𝘦. 𝘐 𝘱𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘥𝘦𝘥 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘎𝘰𝘥, 𝘸𝘢𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘭𝘰𝘶𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘭𝘦𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘩𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘯.” (From “A Thousand Pounds”)
In that moment, I was praying and pleading with everything I had. I’d never uttered a prayer more important, more desperate, more urgent than what I was pleading for right then. By that point, I had already notified my husband and my work of the emergency with my baby. I know they were praying too. And yet, my prayer, by all outward appearances, went unanswered.
After the loss of my son, I continued to show up to church, sitting in the pew with tear-stained cheeks. But for years, I found myself writhing and angry every time I came across a verse like: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you” (John 16:23b, ESV) or “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:19, ESV).
For a long time, the only response I had for God when I heard things like that was an accusation—𝐿𝒾𝒶𝓇.
God raised Lazarus from the dead after four days in the tomb (John 11:1-44). If He wanted to, He could have restored life and breath to my boy that was dying as I prayed.
Changing My Perspective
It was a long road before I could see that God, indeed, answered the heart of my prayer as I pleaded with the heavens that my child’s life would not end. While Lazarus was raised from the dead, he didn’t go on living forever. He died again, leaving those who loved him to mourn once again. When Jesus raised Lazarus it was a temporary solution. It was miraculous, but temporary.
The thing that’s hard to see when we’re grieving is that the miracles we long for are not the highest good. Rather, miracles are unusual signs that help us see Jesus is who He says He is, and that we can therefore trust what He teaches.
When I was wailing for God to prevent the death of my child, He didn’t answer the temporal longing of my heart, but He did answer the grander eternal longing.
Answers in Eternity
To restore breath and life to Lachlan as I prayed would have been a temporary solution. None of us escape meeting our mortality, and one way or another, Lachlan’s death would eventually be mourned by those who love him.
God didn’t take my baby from me. He didn’t turn his back on my prayer. Instead, He answered my prayer in a much bigger way than I was asking of Him in that moment. By the work of Jesus on the cross, He erased the eternal effect of death, He made our separation temporary, and He raised my little boy to an eternal life in Him.
I am still left to mourn for the time being, but God has heard my prayer and done what it takes to turn my mourning to joy for all of eternity (Jeremiah 31:13). If I can be patient and trust that He is still good, He will fulfill the promise He made and the deepest longing of my heart will be answered, and there will be no more tears, or mourning, or pain, or separation from the ones we love (Revelation 21:4).
Brianne is the author of “A Thousand Pounds: Finding the Strength to Live and Love Under the Weight of Unbearable Loss.” She is also the founder of Lach's Legacy, a South Dakota Nonprofit aiming to provide comfort to grieving families and working in the fight against SIDS.