Several years ago, I prayed for something. I prayed fervently, prayed in a way that I’ve prayed for few things in my life. I truly believed God would answer my prayers with a “yes.” I claimed verses like Matthew 17:20: “…For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
I really believed that it was God’s will and I wanted to have faith that he would grant a miracle even when hope seemed lost. Ultimately, God did not grant the miracle. His answer was “no.” And to be honest, I was kind of mad.
At the time a very wise woman said to me, “Haley, God gets to choose what seas he is going to part!” (a truth that has stuck with me even since).
On April 25 of this year, I got an early morning phone call from my sister. She was 17.5 weeks pregnant with her first baby. She was leaking fluid and heading to the ER. After a few hours of confusion and tests, it was confirmed that it was amniotic fluid and she had a ruptured sac. She was told that in all likelihood she was going to lose her baby. She was told she could go the “conservative route” (strict bed rest with which she would probably still lose the baby) or an elective abortion.
Statistically speaking, she was told that after a rupture, 75% of women deliver within the first 48 hours and 99% deliver within two weeks. 99%!!! Needless to say, they were not given hope.
Once again I prayed for a miracle, my whole family prayed, many of you reading this prayed. For a four hour drive to
Dallas, I begged for the life of my unborn nephew,
Brayden Scott Coben, a little baby who already had an identity to us, a gender
and a name.
But this time, I remembered that God got to choose what happened, what seas he was going to part, not me. But, I still begged, knowing that he was capable, knowing that he works all things together for the good of those who love him, knowing that God loves Brayden more than me, more than his grandparents, even more than his parents.
One day at a time for six weeks, Whitney lay on strict bed rest at home. Through the fear and the doubt, we prayed every day for this baby’s life knowing that there were no guarantees. When Brayden was nearly 24 weeks (considered viable), she was checked into the hospital and she lay on bed rest for another four weeks until he was born on July 4th at 27.5 weeks!
Needless to say, Brayden has not had an easy start to his life and David and Whitney have not had an easy journey into parenthood. They’ve already spent more than two months in the NICU and their journey is not over. But there is no doubt that God has already done miraculous things and he knows the plans he has for this child.
Praying for Brayden and watching God do what only he can do has left me pondering many theological questions, questions I don’t have the answers to, and has left me in awe of our great God!
Never before have I been so reminded of how much we are like the Israelites wandering in the desert. We see miracle after miracle after miracle of God’s provision yet at the first bump in the road, we still doubt.
Even now, Brayden has spent more than two months in the NICU and is still on a ventilator. His life will not be free from tribulation (none of ours will!). And despite all the wonders we’ve seen God do in this baby, we still doubt.
And maybe we don’t doubt that God CAN do it, but WILL he do it? Because sometimes he doesn't. Babies are lost. Marriages fall apart. People die.
When God grants a miracle, we are so quick to say, “God is so good!” But, is he any less good when the answer is no?
I love the way Beth Moore puts it in her book, Believing God.
“We’re scared half to death that He won’t come through for us, dignify us with a yes, and prove faithful. Or that we’ll prove to be failures at having enough belief for Him to bless with a miracle. If I’m convinced that God really loves me and has certain priorities for me that may take precedence at times, then I am ‘safe’ to walk by faith. I am freed to know that my God is huge and my God is able and that if I don’t get what I asked, if I’ll cooperate, I’ll get something bigger………..Nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37). We can always hope and pray diligently for a miracle. If, in God’s sovereignty, He chooses to accomplish His purposes another way, let it not be that we have not because we asked not (James 4:2) or that we have not because we believed not………Therefore, I am utterly convinced that any earnestly seeking child of God who receives a no from the Throne is for the sake of a greater yes, whether realized on earth or in heaven.”
I do not know why God chose to save Brayden. But I will forever be grateful for the miracle he has granted to my family. I am thankful that his purposes are not dependent on my faith or lack there of, but that his plans for us always prevail. Brayden will always be a constant reminder of the enduring love and unceasing faithfulness of our God.
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”
“The one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” Romans 9:33