Thursday, February 02, 2012
Dr. Wonder’s Workshop and Unanswered Prayers
My friend Marshall Lawrence is a song writer, businessman, minister, husband, father (like all of us, he wears many hats). His big responsibility right now is being Executive Director of “Silent Blessings Deaf Ministries” and creator and executive producer of Dr. Wonder’s Workshop, a ministry to the deaf community and those who love them.
Dr. Wonder’s Workshop is an educational/inspirational/greatly entertaining television program for deaf children. It is a place they can just have the joy of watching a TV program written by and for persons in the deaf community. Many of those viewers learn for the first time that they are not alone, but there is a whole world of people out there just like them! There is a community to which they belong!
Among other things, on Dr. Wonder’s Workshop they learn that God loves them just the way they are. The all deaf cast teaches children they don’t have to become something they are not and they are not second class citizens or God’s step-children. Instead, they are beloved by God and by the larger world, as well as by a loving community of deaf people who love them just the way they are. This television program is seen by thousands of people and there is nothing else like it for those families with deaf or hard of hearing children. And it is all because of unanswered prayer.
When Marshall and Terry Lawrence had their second baby girl we all rejoiced. They were in our congregation at Midtown Church of God in Elkhart, Indiana, where Marshall was a disc jockey and Program Director at radio station WFRN, a contemporary Christian music station. The same week our grandson Joshua and their daughter Rachel were born and both families rejoiced along with the entire congregation and our extended families.
Unanswered prayer warning
Several months later, however, it became apparent that something was going on with Rachel that Marshall and Terry didn’t understand. After consulting with doctors they discovered she was profoundly deaf. They, their family, our church, and everyone who knew them prayed for a miracle of healing for Rachel’s ears, but it didn’t happen. God didn’t answer that prayer as we fervently asked. Why? Didn’t he love Rachel? Or Carol, her sister? or her parents? Did the church people who were praying not have enough faith? Why didn’t God answer those heart-felt prayers by this huge inter-state community of people of faith?
Can you believe it was because he loved Rachel too much to say “Yes”? And because he knew her deafness would be a blessing not only to her, but to her family and to multiplied thousands of people she would never meet?
When God says “No” it is usually because he knows that “No” is better than “Yes” in that situation.
Because Rachel was helped to embrace her deafness and her talented family had the ability to not only love her and learn to communicate with her in American Sign Language, they also used their incredible talents to minister to the larger world of deaf people, especially children, who were too often being ignored by the hearing world around them.
Below is a link to a video with Marshall singing a song he wrote about their journey that really kind of goes along with the theme of my blog. It's called "Every Gift From Your Hand" and the heart of the message is in the line:
"Lord, I thank you for prayers you never answered just the way that I thought you should,
Finally, I understand, in each thing that you planned,
Every Gift From Your Hand was for my good."
If you would like to see Rachel sign the song as her Dad sings it, follow this private YouTube url http://youtu.be/lQYBQRH7ohE and if you want to know more about Silent Blessings and Dr. Wonder’s Workshop, go to www.fordeaf.org.
So now, because God said “No” we have Dr. Wonder’s Workshop, and a ministry called “Silent Blessings” that ministers to a huge community of people from the inside, by persons from that community, who know and love them as they are.
We can’t always see the reason God says “No” as quickly as we have in this situation. Often we never see the answers this side of heaven. It is easy to thank God for answered prayer when he says “Yes”. But if we are genuine people of faith we need to thank God just as much when he says “No”. Either answer is just as much an indication of the unconditional love of God.