Holding on to God through Prayer
by Elbert Balbastro, Deacon
God always answers our prayers but his response may not be in the form we expected them to be. He knows our needs and what we truly desire. Whenever we find ourselves in a situation wherein it seems that God did not respond to our prayers countless times, we still need to keep praying. Perseverance in prayer is necessary so as to comprehend the deepest and truest response of God in our plea.
When my mother broke the news that my father accidentally fell, I prayed that he did not sustain any severe fracture. Unfortunately, the result of the X-ray revealed that he would need a hip replacement surgery. Before the operation, my dad needed to undergo an RT-PCR test. Again, I fervently prayed for negative results. However, he was tested positive of Covid-19. The operation did not push through since my father needed to be in a home quarantine for ten days while he recuperates from the virus. I was disappointed, but I was steadfastly hoping and praying that everything would go well.
On the seventh day, he complained of difficulty in breathing. No hospital would accept us, and all I could do was caress his back and ask him to perform breathing exercises. Later that afternoon, my mom noticed that he was not breathing anymore. I immediately called the doctor and the municipal ambulance to bring us to the hospital.
While the doctors at the hospital were trying to revive him, I begged God with all my strength, “Lord please let him live, Lord please, please, please.” After an hour of resuscitation, the doctor declared him dead.
I entered into a state of shock. My body was numb while mixed emotions of pain, sadness, anger and disappointment emerged. At some point, I asked God why all my prayers were unanswered. I remembered waking up in the morning, drowning in grief while I looked intently at the urn of my father. I noticed that I was still holding on to my breviary and rosary even though I couldn’t find any words to say.
In the succeeding days, I felt like I was crawling in a tunnel of darkness. I was angry and I felt betrayed by God. I was like a child throwing tantrums because I did not get what I wanted. I really blamed God for the loss of my father.
Eventually, my anger subsided.
One day a family doctor offered condolences to me. In our conversation, we discussed about my father’s condition. Even prior to his hip fracture, my father had lots of health complications. He had high blood pressure, diabetes, hypertension and kidney problems. At the age of 76, he will recover from the fracture with the help of the operation, but the rest of his complications will worsen. On top of that, the operation and his recovery would surely deplete our funds. My father would need care 24/7 after the operation. He would be confined to a wheel chair. Since my mother is aging, and my brother and I have to work, I cannot imagine how we’ll be able to manage that.
Grace comes when we are open, especially in times of difficulties. In the end, I realized that prayer is important in my life. When things do not make sense or do not go the way we expected, just continue to pray. In the darkness, God’s grace abounds all the more. We might get frustrated whenever our prayers are not answered in the way we asked for, but God will respond to it in a manner that will fit to our situation.