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An Unanswered Prayer

Rosalind Goforth

Our little Gracie became ill with a terribly fatal disease, so common in malarious districts — enlarged spleen. The doctors pronounced her condition quite hopeless. One day a Chinese Christian woman came in with her little child of about the same age as our Gracie, and very ill with the same disease. The poor mother was in great distress, for the doctor had told her also that there was no hope. She thought that if we would plead with the doctor he could save her child. At last Mr. Goforth pointed to our little Gracie, saying: “Surely, if the doctor cannot save our child, neither can he save yours; your only hope and ours is in the Lord Himself.”

The mother was a poor, hard-working, ignorant woman, but she had the simple faith of a little child. Some weeks later she called again, and told me the following story:

“When the pastor told me my only hope was in the Lord, I believed him. When I reached home I called my husband, and together we committed our child into the Lord’s hands. I felt perfectly sure the child would get well, so I did not take care of him more than of a well child. In about two weeks he seemed so perfectly well that I took him to the doctor again, and the doctor said that he could discover nothing the matter with him.”

That Chinese child is now a grownup, healthy man. And our child died. Yet we had prayed for her as few, perhaps, have prayed for any child. Why, then, was she not spared? I do not know. But I do know that there was in my life, at that time, the sin of bitterness toward another, and an unwillingness to forgive a wrong. This was quite sufficient to hinder any prayer, and did hinder for years, until it was set right.

Does this case of unanswered prayer shake my faith in God’s willingness and power to answer prayer? No, no! My own child might just as reasonably decide never again to come to me with a request because I have, in my superior wisdom, denied a petition. Is it not true, in our human relationships with our children, that we see best to grant at one time what we withhold at another? “What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter.”—How I Know God Answers Prayer