About a year ago, as I made my way up to Tennessee for a staff summit, I received a phone call from my doctor’s office. They told me the kidney disease that I had been battling since the summer of 2008 had relapsed. Again.
I remember my throat tightening as I put down the phone. This was starting to look like a never-ending cycle. My doctors would try to taper off the cocktail of medications, I’d be in remission for a while, and then, just when it looked like I could get off everything, I would relapse.
Back at square one, having to start treatment and up the meds all over, get dozens of lab tests done, and wait and pray that I wouldn’t get yet another phone call telling me it didn’t work. Talk about testing one’s faith. There I was, 4 years into full-time ministry, but here’s the problem:
I didn’t want to pray anymore.
Prayer Beyond Emotions
I’m banking on the fact that all of us have been there at least once. Storms come leaving us so battered, exhausted, confused and possibly angry that the last thing we want to do is pray. If you’re anything like me, then verses like John 6:33’s “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world,” don’t seem to do much in those moments.
But I still pray anyway. Why? Because I think there’s a much deeper purpose for praying, one that transcends whatever emotional response we might be having to a particular situation. And it is in those moments I think, that we don’t just draw closer to God, we also start to see the purpose behind praying as well.
Praying When It Hurts
One of my all time favorite characters in the Bible is David. Not just because he beat Goliath or was an awesome musician. I like David because he was completely honest with himself and God, and because I think he’s one of the best examples on what it means to pray in any and every circumstance.
David was by no means perfect. We’ve heard how he messed up with Bathsheba, but yet God called him a “man after His own heart.” (Acts 13:22) I think this has something to do with the fact that David intrinsically understood and believed that no matter what he was up against, God was and is always bigger than that.
So even when he was hurting, even when things looked bleak and impossible, David always went back to God and prayed with everything he had. Prayer, as I’ve learned from David, isn’t just a way to communicate with God, it is in and of itself an act of faith, and one that we should practice often.
A Call To Persevere
It’s been over a year since I got that phone call from the doctor’s office. Today I’ve been in remission for about a year and my prognosis isn’t uncertain, it’s GOOD and all praise and glory goes to God.
While I won’t say that all my reactions and responses were perfect this past year, I will tell you that I’m convinced where I am today is in large part due to prayer both on my part and from many, many others around me. And I’m thankful we never stopped.
So this fall, as we begin yet another school year on our vibrant college campuses, my encouragement to you is this: stay strong and keep praying. Tests might bomb, relationship issues might happen, work stress might get to you, but always, God is with us. And the more we pray, the closer He is, and He will always make a way.
“But praise be to God who makes us strong to overcome in Christ, and makes clear through us in every place the value of the knowledge of him.” 2 Corinthians 2:14
Kimberly Chung is the National Media Director for Campus Renewal Ministries, a ministry focused on forging partnerships in prayer to build missional communities that transform college campuses with the gospel of Jesus. She is a campus minister to The University of Texas at Austin and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org