In October, I became obsessed with the Auer family on Instagram. They were with their three-year-old daughter, Rowen, in a cold ICU, away from the rest of their children, home, and community. Day by day, minute by minute, these parents fully depended on God’s will and the skill of the doctors, nurses, and equipment that kept Rowen’s little heart beating until a heart transplant became available. Just a few weeks before, their lives had been normal. They had been torn from what was safe and familiar, and normal was not even within reach. Unless: a miracle. Which they still believed could happen. Their unapologetic and uninhibited worship and prayers turned the stark hospital room into a sacred place—a holy place—for all the world to see.
I couldn’t stop reading Amanda’s posts, checking Instagram every hour to see if she had any news to share—any improvement in Rowen’s condition—to see if there was something to celebrate. And every time I checked, I did see something new, something to celebrate. Not that they had yet experienced the specific miracle we all so desperately pleaded for, but countless people had been touched by their story and their faith. Literally thousands all over the world were reconnecting with Jesus because of Rowen. People who claimed not to be believers were praying for Rowen.
The story is still being pieced together, every deeply fearful and deeply joyful moment, to display God’s glory to thousands who may have never met Him.
Do you know what spoke to me the loudest as I read Amanda’s words? A to-the-core devastated Mama and Daddy were reaching to heaven in complete surrender, dependence, and trust.
Handing their precious daughter back to the One she belongs to.
Impassioned posts from others on social media these days lie in glaring contrast to this kind of thinking and behavior. Instead of pleas for people to pray for God’s will and truth to prevail, I see opinions, blanket statements, and declarations that have nothing to do with trust and surrender and everything to do with choosing sides. Can we agree that the only time that “always” or “never” applies is when it is applied to Him? Who He is. Who He is NOT.
As I witnessed the Auers’ remarkable faith and selfless prayers, I thought about my own grandchildren. Undoubtedly this family wanted a miracle that would bring Rowen back to them, but they asked for His will, not theirs. They recognized that maybe the purpose of their suffering was to bring many people back to Him. Experiencing joy and celebration in the midst of their raw and excruciating pain and fear, people rediscovered their own faith, or came to it for the first time. When I ask myself if I would be able to pray with that kind of surrender, I am suddenly struck by the profound responsibility I have. As a grandparent, I can’t forget that I am one of the people my grandchildren look to as an example.
I want to model trust in God’s truth when it goes completely contrary to what the world is saying and to relinquish what we want or believe to be true. I long to demonstrate the Auers’ kind of faith as my grandchildren watch for my response to adversity. I am confident that His love never fails and His truth can always be trusted. I want to teach them that prayer isn’t only about asking for what we want but about being content that His promise says He will provide what we need. And prayer doesn’t just change circumstances; it changes hearts. I want them to recognize that sometimes the answers come in the form of provision for others. And whatever it looks like, there will always be something to celebrate, because we know that His will is perfect in every circumstance. These are the truths I want my grandchildren to know— the truth I hope my life will impart to them!