I’m still surprised when God answers prayer. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been a believer and practicing woman of faith for over forty years. I’ve seen God do some amazing things, and yes, even miracles, in answer to prayer. On the other hand, I’ve experienced times when God remained silent to my anguished cries.
My mouth will tell you that I believe God can do anything. But sometimes my heart counters, “But will He?”
At such times, I try to fall back on what I know to be true. That God is a good God who is also wise and all-knowing. Our God is sovereign, which is a fancy way of saying that He is God and I am not. He gets to call the shots.
It was out of these thoughts, feelings, and questions that Saving Eric was born. I wanted to illustrate that God’s plan is sometimes much bigger than what we presently see, and that we can trust God to always do what is needed and what is right.
Through this character-driven novel, three basic truths about God come to light.
- God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we ask or think. These words, taken from Ephesians 3:20, are the foundational truth behind Brock Whitfield’s faith. Brock’s faith is strong and seemingly unshakable because it was forged in the crucible of deep failure, disappointment, and loss. Brock passes on what he has learned about trusting God to all the staff at the mission compound.
- God sometimes lets us be the answer to our own prayers. This is probably my favorite truth. Brock had prayed for a certain individual for many years, but he never dreamed God would allow him to be part of the answer. What an exciting thought! God not only gives us the desires of our hearts, but He also lets us be part of the answer.
- God uses broken people to help other broken people. We’re all broken. That’s why we need a savior. God is in the business of changing lives. Brock, Ellie, Eric, and Bob Templeton—all broken and in need of God’s truth and God’s grace to turn their lives around.
These fictional characters struggle with things we all struggle with. Using Brock as spiritual mentor, I take the reader down the path of some of my own spiritual battles and questions. My goal was to portray God realistically and faithfully. He is a God who does not always answer the way we think He will or should, but His answer is always the best one. It’s a hard lesson to learn and one that must be relearned many times in one’s life.
Last year, I did the unthinkable. I gave God a deadline. Granted, I gave Him a year, but it was still a deadline. I asked for two specific requests. Big requests. Not the generic, “God bless my children and keep them safe.” (Although there’s nothing wrong with that either)
I prayed on New Year’s Day for God to come through and answer the two requests I had been praying about for three years. I committed to prayer that 2014 be the year that both requests be answered. And by answered, I mean really answered.
At every prayer meeting, everybody knew my hand would go up and I would ask for two unspoken requests.
Did I ask in faith? You bet. Did I really believe they would get answered? Sort of. The first one was answered in September, fully nine months after asking that original prayer. The second one was more of a challenge. I still had hope, but I had already decided to let God off the hook in case it wasn’t His timing or His will. (Like He needed for me to let Him off the hook)
The answer came on Christmas Eve. When I found out, I didn’t believe it. In fact, I said to the person, “You’re kidding.” See what I mean? I’m still surprised when God answers prayer.
Let me sum it all up. God is real. God is good. God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we ask or think. Our God loves us. He delights to show Himself strong on our behalf.
But His ways are not our ways. Sometimes He says “No.” Sometimes He says “Wait.” And sometimes He is silent. And at such times we must do as the song says, “When we can’t trace His hand, we trust His heart.”
Joan Deneve teaches English in a Christian school and has a passion to help young people fall in love with Jesus and equip them to become all God wants them to be. Joan began her walk as a Christian when she accepted Christ as her savior two weeks before her sixteenth birthday. She graduated from Tennessee Temple Bible College in 1975.
Joan and Rene’, her husband of forty-plus years, reside in Prattville, Alabama, a charming city with Southern hospitality. They count their son, daughter, son-in-law, and seven phenomenal grandchildren to be their greatest blessings on earth.
Joan enjoys time well-spent with family and friends, but finds equal joy in quiet moments of solitude on her back porch. There, surrounded by bluebirds and yellow butterflies, she began writing her debut novel, Saving Eric.
An active member of her church, Joan enjoys singing in the choir. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and is currently working on the second book in the Redeemed Side of Broken Series. She enjoys chatting with fellow writers and readers. Check out her web page: http://cjdeneve.wix.com/joandeneve.
More About Saving Eric:
Templetons don’t break down. Even when their world is falling apart. Eric Templeton’s well-ordered life as a top CIA agent is shattered when a traitor within the agency plots to have him eliminated. Sent on a bogus mission to Africa, Eric is ambushed and critically wounded. A helicopter pilot flies him to a remote mission hospital where Dr. Brock Whitfield and his daughter, Ellie, work to save his life. If Eric survives, his life may never be the same, and he still has to deal with the traitor who wants him dead. Eric wants justice, but Brock and Ellie know that Eric’s survival is the least of his worries. What he needs most is mercy and truth.