Importuning for suffering hearts
By Beverley Russell
8. More than importuning in importuning for our suffering hearts
We need to grow that close relationship with God for our prayers to be effective, whatever the outcome. “Pray without ceasing” takes on a new meaning. Without ceasing? One cannot keep up a list of importunings day in and day out and so “without ceasing” must mean to be in such a close relationship with God that He knows our list before we ask. Our prayer life then becomes a state of mind not just a list of requested items.
Tragedy teaches us that there is something much more to importuning in importuning. It is something which accompanies the importuning list, and more than the regular occasional turning to God in prayer. It is such a close relationship with God, constantly LOOKING UP, always needing to be in that holy state, so that He knows our needs before we ask. That holy state also enables us to know what God wants of us. If our close relationship with God is not there in our prayer life any importuning will be impotent. How can we ask Him to be there with us in the suffering, if He does not already walk with us? When there is a negative answer or a denial result to our prayer, then we will not appreciate His message, and that will crush us.
If we can think of those who suffer in gulags and camps and in terrible regimes, on and on for years and years, and never lose their faith, there must be some state of grace which sustains them. Those who go to their deaths like Nurse Cavell, (WW1) forgiving her tormentors and wanting God to be seen in the suffering, point the way to the answer. It was the same for John Baptist, the same for stoned Stephen, and the same for Jesus the Christ. “Forgive them…” It is the same for our loved ones who die from long mental or physical illnesses who take their struggle in God’s name, and for Him. Any struggle in His name is a bonus for Him.
“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee …, “, Daniel 3.
Those incarcerated in terrible pits, like Nelson Mandela, vow that good can be found everywhere. Even in the endless Robbens Island Solitary Confinement it was possible to find there a liberty to use the endless moments alone, for loving, for thinking, for future planning for the millions of black who daily struggled for life in South Africa. In that disconnection from the real world, in wicked isolation, consideration of one’s own life blood and the force which courses through those veins can still be dedicated to God. That is indeed a true walk with God.
As God was there in that furnace with the three friends of Daniel, so it is for us as well. It is that God is there in the terrible grief. That is in itself a liberty. We pray then for God to be there to uphold the suffering one, so that they can bear the suffering and become a testimony for Him.
We know that the importuning of some mothers does not always save their sons.
We know that the importuning of the Shunammite woman did save her son.
It is not to do with the sons of the mothers, or the sins of the mothers, or the amount of faith of the mothers, it is to do with the will of the Heavenly Father and His purpose.
It is not a lack of faith to cry to God, “but If not…”. We need to focus on God, and help our loved ones to focus on Him, so that whatever happens, life or death, the comfort of His presence overrides it all. They are then held tightly in the palm of His hand. We can encourage ourselves and our group prayers to pray earnestly for the recovery of our loved ones, but if not, then that God will be with them, holding their hands lifting them up, easing their pain, sustaining them through the dying and death, holding them in the palm of His hand until they too are at peace.
The pain of suffering is like a broadcasted message from God, and indeed the thunderings and the lightnings when He does speak, herald that He is near. We need only listen.