I grew up surrounded by really amazing women, a lot of them were not directly related to me. Asides my mums corporate job, she has taught in children’s church for as long as I can remember so she often had other children church ministers around the house for one catch up or the other. It was a warm environment with godly women but amongst them, there was my favourite. You know the world is sinful not only by a baby biting nipples but by a girl barely 10 years old having a favourite. What was the determining factor of my favourite? I wish I could say I did not know, but I do.
Aunty Nkechi was beautiful in every sense of the word, she was very eloquent, she was young and then she was happily married just by judging on what I saw as young as I was. Her husband and her were so inseparable that I remember in church sometimes other ministers will be telling them to take it easy with how unashamed they were with their PDA (Public display of affection). They were also comfortable financially so with my little mind then she seemed to have it all together and that attracted me so much to her.
Thankfully, I was very young, I could not hide my admiration for her, she saw it and it was reciprocated. Up until I left for boarding school and then she left our church to a new one.
Even after we parted by circumstances of life, I would periodically ask my mum how they were and if she had a child yet because that appeared to be the only thing missing and I use the word ‘missing’ because I know they desired a child and had not got one yet. My mum would always say no and it would actually bother me so much as to why a baby had not come.
Writing my prayer list at the beginning of 2015 that year, I wrote her and her husband down, along with two other aunties I knew were trusting God for children and I started to pray more intentionally about them. I prayed as often as everyday for them that year and the next till about 2018 when I thought to myself that I was not going to have her on my list that year, not because I was tired of praying, but I was just convinced that I had done my part and God was now going to do it in His time.
That year went by, once in a while I still prayed, 2019 came and I wrote her down again, I told God I was going to resume praying for them and I did. Bearing in mind that I did not speak to her anymore at this point. Life and time had happened, but I was so committed to this particular request in their life; a child. I prayed all 2019 like I committed to and then last year I got horrible news that she had cancer. It was a hard hit, but Lord knows I saw it as a ‘the devil intensifying his efforts because breakthrough is in sight‘, so I prayed all the more. I told God that the testimony will even be more powerful that He gave them a baby through battling cancer.
On Saturday I taught on intercession and while needing to make an analogy during the class, I referenced aunty Nkechi and I said I was never going to stop praying for her until I see a manifestation of that which I ask for. Barely an hour after that meeting, I jump on a call with my mum and she says ‘bad news Rubie, Aunty Nkechi died‘. My mum was just on her way to their house when I called in. I could feel my heart stop for some seconds. Not after 5 years of consistently praying for her. She was now gone.
I have been mourning her but much more my request to have seen them hold their own baby. I have been left with questions and what if’s but in the midst of it, I have been encouraged in the Lord. Some time over the weekend God reminded me of Hebrews 11:39 – “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised“. ‘These’ was referencing the people who made it to the hall of faith. The bible tells us that despite having the levels of faith that they did, none of them saw what had been promised. Jesus was the promise but neither of them lived to actually see Him.
Did the fact that they did not see Him invalidate their hopes, faith and prayers for the promise? definitely not. We even see God commend them in this hall of faith for the faith even though they did not see its manifestation. Prayer does much more than guarantee an answer for what is asked for. It refreshes, it anchors, it trains and much more, it brings us constantly to the place that Abba wants us.
This is to say that our prayer is not invalidated when that which we asked for is not received. It does not put us at a loss and it does not make God a fraud, it goes beyond all that our human minds and hearts can process and just keeps us in a place that still judges God faithful regardless of all that might have happened.
It does hurt that an answer never came, and now, will actually never come, but it is beautiful to recount my labour of prayer over her in my secret place and still maintain my heart on the truth of Gods goodness. By all means, lets keep praying until we see manifestations and even if the manifestation does not come when or how we hoped it would, lets cling to the Good one still for comfort, for strength and for grace to dare to hope and believe again.