2014 was the worst year of my life.

By the beginning of the year, my wife and I had been trying to get pregnant for several months. In the late winter and early spring my wife had two miscarriages. They were both very early. So quick, at times I wonder if the really happened. But they did.

In late Spring we found out we were pregnant again, but this time the baby seemed healthy and survived the early months of pregnancy.

Yet, in mid summer my wife went in for a standard prenatal visit, and learned that something wasn’t right.

I was at home playing with our oldest son when she called.

Our daughter (we learned the gender later) had a condition called Anencephaly. A condition the doctors called “not compatible with life.”

We were early enough that the doctors offered us the option of terminating the pregnancy. We declined. Our daughter was alive and strong in the womb, it wasn’t our right to steal that.

Our due date landed at the end of November, and we marched toward that date like a silent soldier.

Along the way I received too many emails, letters, and text messages to count. Support for our situation was plenty. Our church and small group even offered to raise money to cover our medical expenses for the birth.

Praying For A Miracle

There was near certainty that our daughter would die. Babies with this condition don’t live longer than a day or two; a week in the rarest case. More likely she would die within a few hours if she even survived labor.

Several dear friends told us that they were praying for us. That, in fact, they were praying for a miracle. That God might somehow save our daughter.

When I heard that for the first time, it surprised me. Out of all the things I had prayed in the weeks since we found out, a miracle healing wasn’t one.

Then guilt crept in.

I should be praying for a miracle. But I couldn’t.

Fear crowded out my guilt, and I knew I couldn’t do it. I was afraid that if I prayed for a miracle, then my soul would begin to hope

Hope is both life giving and dangerous. In a situation so personally and emotionally tumultuous, I couldn’t let myself land anywhere close to hope of my daughter’s healing. It would be like a spring shower turning into a monsoon.

If I wanted to survive the coming months and years, than I needed to keep at least some emotions in check. Somehow control the storm.

When You Can’t Pray For Something

So I let my friends pray for miraculous healing. While being transparent that I couldn’t.

In circumstances like our daughter, the church becomes a source of leverage. The dreams and prayers surrounding our life were far beyond what my wife and I could muster. When you can’t pray for something, someone else can. The body of Christ extends beyond where our personal hopes end.

Our daughter did die. After just under an hour of breathe in the delivery room, we got to rock her to sleep.

The prayers of our church and friends didn’t fail. Rather, they accomplished more than they intended.

Their miracle prayers gave us courage to endure. Offered support to a crumbling foundation.

When you can’t pray for something. Let someone else pray.