Over the past decade, I have watched several of my Christian friends walk away from their faith. And these were no laissez-fair Christians either – they were passionate Jesus lovers who ran after God and seized every opportunity to share His love with others. But now, some of these same friends deny the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and have embraced a form of religious pluralism instead (the belief that there are many ways to God and we will all end up in heaven). So what happened - how did they get derailed? And what can we do to . . .

Have you ever wanted something so bad that it hurts? Your thoughts are consumed with dreams, plans, or prayers to make it happen . . . but you have no control over the outcome. So how do you handle the heartbreak when your hopes are shattered instead of fulfilled?

A few years ago, I wrote an article titled “Dealing with Disappointment” about my struggle with infertility. Even after God gave us Connor through in-vitro fertilization, my longings continued for a second child. Bob and I pushed forward through many more rounds of fertility treatments, and I had a second pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage . . . but we never had another child.  I was devasated.

But here I am years later, and my heart is in a different place. One moment radically changed my interpretation of these events (and my entire relationship with God), so here's the rest of the story . . .

My whole life, everyone taught me that prayer was always the right response. Even Scripture says we are to “pray without ceasing,” and though this directive felt a bit daunting, I fully believed God designed us to be people of prayer. I believed we were to pray with faith and boldness, and to persist in our petitions until we got a breakthrough. Isn’t that what the parable about the unjust judge teaches, that we are to “always pray and never give up?” (Luke 18:1-8) However, there are two distinct times in my life when I am certain God told me not to pray. They both surprised me, and they both redefined my understanding of Him.

The first time was at my work. As a physician assistant, I often have opportunities to pray with my patients. It is a privilege and a joy every time I connect someone with the love of God through prayer. I believe my heart was right in doing this, and it often brought peace and encouragement to the patients.  However, one day . . .