I begged and cried and begged more . . . 'God fix this. You have to. I know you're in charge but come on, this can't be what you want . . . right?'
That's how my prayers typically went when I prayed for Catherine, my friend's mom, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2009. Catherine's health fluctuated in the following years and she never left the top of my prayer list.
Her family said it was time to pray for a miracle when Catherine stopped responding to treatment last fall. So I continued to beg God for a miracle. Every time I was miserable about something – the Arizona heat, a hard workout, the flu, or heartache – I offered up my suffering for Catherine.
'What are you doing God?' I kept asking. I couldn't wrap my mind around it. She was an amazing, holy woman with six children, most of them still in grade school. Hundreds of people were praying for a miracle; I knew I couldn't give up hoping. Miracles happen all the time.
So why not this time? Catherine died this past January 30th. I felt like God had let me down. I felt like He wasn't thinking about how many hearts were torn apart. 'How could you, God?'
I've been Catholic my whole life. I know these answers, but this time my emotions were so strong that I forgot everything I knew about God's goodness.
Struggling because of unanswered prayers is bound to happen in any person's faith life. God will always give us grace to see His heart again though. Staring intently at the Eucharist in adoration I saw a God who loves us so much He took on our human nature and remains with us in the Eucharist. I had to admit that He does know what's best. He loves us so much that He has our best interest, Heaven, constantly on His mind.
Praying for a miracle is not wrong or a waste of time because God hears and responds (Psalm 34: 17 – 20). He wants us to ask for what we need. We have free will so He doesn't force Himself on us, even though He cares intimately about our daily lives.
We need to learn from Mary and echo her words 'Let it be done according to your will.' That miracle wasn't God's will; He had something better in mind.
Catherine 'fought the good fight and finished the race' (2 Timothy 4:7). She's home and enjoying eternal happiness. And now we have another amazing woman praying for us the way we prayed for her. While it's still sad, I have found a lot of peace in trusting God. Sometimes we get earthly miracles. However, at the end of life the true miracle is our resurrection and the eternity we spend with God and the saints in heaven. That's the greatest miracle we can pray for.