What God Has Promised
By Pamela Anderson
Nov. 11, 2012
“Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray” (James 5:13, NIV).
The man who came home wearing my husband’s uniform was not the same man I had sent off to war seven months before. This man was irritable, nervous, distant and impervious to my pleas for communication. Eventually the medical community christened this new normal as post-traumatic stress disorder, but knowing the name of the body snatcher did not halt our downward spiral into the abyss. During those days, I had two prayers: “My God! Where are You?” and, “Please, make this go away.”
As I slowly began to realize I had not been abandoned by the God of steadfast love and kindness, my prayers changed. To my shame, my previous prayer life had possessed undertones reminiscent of Ben Franklin: “Lord, make me healthy, wealthy and wise.” Now I followed instead the prompting of Puritan pastor John Owen: “Pray only for what God has promised.” On my face before the Lord, I searched the Scriptures for promises to pray.
Ephesians 2:4 promised me that God is rich in mercy, so I prayed earnestly with Daniel in Daniel 9:18,19: “O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations. … For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. … O Lord, pay attention and act” (ESV).
Amid a trial-and-error matrix of therapists, treatment modalities and well-intended advice, I prayed on. My unremitting desire was for my life and marriage to be a planting of the Lord, as Isaiah writes about in Isaiah 61.
But even as ashes gave way to beauty, and oil of gladness seeped in where torrents of mourning had once raged, there were gaping holes in our planting — barrenness in the field. My husband could not remember much of the previous two years, and what he did remember was a very different version of the life I thought we had lived. And so I journeyed with God to survey the Anderson crop, which was stunted by this new sorrow. Reassuringly, He spoke to me through Joel 2:25, “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,” clearly another promise.
With hope in my heart I laid hold of this good word and prayed for restoration, and I still do. Restoration is an accomplished reality in my life, and yet becomes more so each day. I write these words as a trophy of God’s grace, testifying that the swarming locust named PTSD has been crushed. Though I already stand as more than a conqueror, I look forward to the restoration of all things when, according to the old hymn, “The things of earth that cause the heart to tremble, remembered there will only bring a smile.”
Is there any area of your life where you feel abandoned by God?
What specific promises from Scripture can you pray regarding your circumstances?
“Sovereign Provider of all that is needful, I come asking only for good gifts. Incline Your ear to me and hear. Grant me deep and personal knowledge of Your mercy, and restore my desolations according to the counsel of Your will. O Lord, pay attention. O Lord, please act. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
From Faith Deployed ... Again: More Daily Encouragement for Military Wives by Jocelyn Green and contributing authors (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2011). Excerpted with permission.
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