When I was growing up, my family attended a small Nazarene church in Santa Fe, New Mexico. There were some really good people at that little church. (See my Aug. 2 post about 'A man named Dan'). I was a young teenage girl when a couple, John and Wanda, learned they were going to have a baby. Wanda had suffered several miscarriages up to that point, so this pregnancy was a miracle to them.
But somewhere in the second trimester, disaster struck. Wanda went into premature labor and delivered a teeny, tiny baby girl. The baby was alive, but barely hanging on to life.
My next memory of this event takes place at the church. I believe it was a Wednesday night. Things didn't look good for the baby. Wanda stayed at the hospital, but John came to the church to pray. All the adults gathered around him at the altar, including my Mom and Dad. My sister and I hung back in the pews, but I'm sure I whispered a prayer on behalf of that little girl.
The preacher prayed aloud. Others prayed more softly. But one voice stood out among all of them.
It was John's.
I will never, ever forget the words he cried that night. They continue to amaze me all these years later.
"Not my will, Lord, but thine be done."
Here was this new father, desperately hoping his baby girl would survive, yet willing to leave it all in God's hands. John knew God's plan was the better plan, even though he may not understand it or even like it. The words he spoke are, of course, familiar to us all. They are the same words Jesus prayed in the garden just before his arrest. (Luke 22:42) Jesus knew what was about to happen. He knew the horrible death that awaited him, yet he was willing to leave it all in God the Father's hands.
The little baby girl died the next day. I was crushed. I didn't understand how God could have allowed that to happen. I don't know how many lives were affected by that little girl's birth and death. I know mine was. I saw faith like I'd never seen it before. Even after their baby died, John and Wanda continued to serve the Lord with love and trust. A year or so later they were blessed with a little boy. A few years after that John went Home to be with Jesus on Christmas Eve. He'd run the race and won.
Am I willing to live my life with that kind of faith? Am I willing to say "thy will be done" and mean it? I truly hope so!
Thank you, John! You left a legacy of faith that will never be forgotten.