Advent devotion: What do I pray for?

News | December 14, 2019

When I think of light and life, I think of my daughter, Chelsea. Our experience as a family, with her illness as a three-year-old, was immediately overwhelming to me and my faith.

I grew up in the church. My dad was a pastor in a small-town church in New Hampshire and my mom was the organist. Even though church was omnipresent, I didn’t feel a strong faith and we certainly never talked about faith or what we believed in. I went to a religious college but didn’t particularly further my enlightenment to God during my four years there.

Life was good. My husband, Pete, and I became involved in a church. Then abruptly, after a brief illness, our oldest developed kidney failure. This included hospitalization at the university with dialysis and an uncertain outcome. I remember specifically asking my mother, “What do I pray for? A specific thing? That she gets well?” Because if she didn’t, would I then question my faith in the God that I had grown closer to over the recent years?

Mom’s answer was to pray for ongoing faith in God and for strength, and I did. Every day I had to be there for Chelsea and every night when I slept in a chair next to her bed, strength was imperative. We were told there was a 50/50 chance – not that she would die, but that she would either get better or need a kidney transplant. I don’t know who swings that pendulum. Is it God? If that’s the case, then God swings it in either direction – which is a bitter pill to swallow. In the end, she did get better. We were incredibly grateful. And my faith in God, God’s light, became what holds me together.

My belief in the constant nature of God gives me strength. I don’t frequently talk about what I believe. But I don’t need to. God is my light – day and night.

Merriam Rink is a financial planner in Davenport. She is married to Pete and the proud mom of Chelsea, Melissa, and Andrew. She loves traveling and reading.

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