God longs to give you greater things than what you ask for.
When I first heard my sweet friend, Fergie, pray the words “Better Than Ever” the day before my eye surgery on May 11, 2016, I scoffed. I belonged to that stoic group of people who thought a Christian shouldn’t ask too much of God because we’re supposed to be content, right? Learn to cope. Manage. And if you long for greater things, ask God to give you an attitude adjustment. Write the first line of Hebrews 13:5 on your spiritual chalkboard twenty times. At that moment, it seemed a lot to ask God to restore what little vision I had. Better Than Ever vision sounded impossible.
The day after Fergie’s prayer, God taught me the value of Better Than Ever prayers by giving me eyesight I’d never had before. That phrase, “Better Than Ever,” became a theme in my book, With Fresh Eyes and I learned that God can do the impossible, because He is God and nothing is beyond His reach.
God asked me again to believe in Better Than Ever.
For years, my husband has suffered unrelenting back pain. In a last-ditch effort, we agreed to have surgeons implant a neuro-stimulator in his back. Several friends have had the surgery and found phenomenal relief. But I was nervous. I feared it wouldn’t work and chronic pain would remain the unwanted visitor in our household.
Two weeks before the surgery, at the end of our church service, our minister, Jesse Craig, prayed that Jack would experience Better Than Ever health. Either Pastor Jesse had read my book and volleyed my words back at me or, on his own through the nudge of the Holy Spirit, spoke the words that would resonate with my spirit. When he said, “Better Than Ever,” my breath caught in my throat and my hopes rose. I knew better than to play skeptic this time. Was it too much to hope that God would give us Better Than Ever twice? Yet, am I not the one who has said so many times that God can do the impossible?
God could do this. He could give my husband a pain free life that he has not had since before the age of thirteen. Dare I be so bold? If I prayed that, would God give that to us?
What did God do?
Preacher Creature (PC) has not yet recovered fully from his back surgery. But even on the day of the surgery, God showed us that He has even greater things planned for us and He could use our prayers to bring about good for His glory.
My book’s winning of the ECPA Christian book award showcased my profile and ministry to many people on social media and in several online groups. During the flury of congratulations, people caught that my husband was to have surgery within the week. Probably hundreds of people beyond the members of our little church joined in an outpouring of prayer for PC.
The morning of surgery, a confident surgeon reassured us of his expertise. I silently prayed that God would bring about the results of this surgery in a way that the surgeon would see that the outcome was from God.
After the surgery, I felt like I was talking to a different person. The doctor admitted he had trouble placing the second of two electrical leads in my husband’s back. He was about to give up when he thought of wise advice from a medical school professor who told his students to have the courage to find other options and treat the patient as if they were a family member. “Would I give up if the person was my dad?” the doctor asked. Another option popped into his brain. He went for it, and the lead immediately settled into place. “It gave me chills,” he said.
Not knowing whether he claimed to be a Christ-follower, I told him hundreds of people had been praying that morning and that we were specifically praying God would give the surgeon wisdom. His face lit up. “That’s what happened in that moment,” he said, and he revealed that as a believer, he gathered his surgical team to pray before they begin each day’s surgery schedule.
God answered my prayer that the surgeon would see God. And God blessed the surgeon by allowing him to hear how hundreds had prayed that morning.
God uses—wants to use—His answers to do even greater things that we cannot begin to know or imagine. He wants to bring about Better Than Ever so those watching can’t miss that it came from Him.
Jesus once told his disciples:
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”John 14:12, NIV
When Jesus went back to Heaven to be with the Father, the age of the Church would begin, and the blessing of all nations as He had promised to Abraham would ensue. As Christ-followers, our earthly lives would take on a new spiritual dimension and meaning because now, anything that happens to us can have Kingdom impact. God’s answers to our prayers have the potential of far reaching impact. With my husband’s back surgery, God knew there was something far bigger going on than just pain relief. God wanted a surgeon to know that He was working through his hands.
What does God want to do through you?
The Lord can do the same for you. He can use one of your prayer needs to go far beyond what you originally asked for and display His power beyond the limits of your life and location to other people.
Are you willing to risk it? To pray that God answers in ways onlookers can’t miss? Get ready. It could be very exciting to watch what God can do.
It could give you chills.
At this writing, my husband is recovering at home. We won’t know the full results of his surgery for several weeks. Yet, already, we are rejoicing at how God has used his surgery to bless others. We have a gut feeling that God is not done with this story yet. Or, as the words of God Of This City say,
For greater things have yet to comeCHRIS TOMLIN, “GOD of THIS CITY”
And greater things are still to be done in this city.
And in our home.
May it be so, Lord Jesus!