Author, Rev. Dr. Rhoda Manzo
Author, Rev. Dr. Rhoda Manzo

I first met Rev. Dr. Rhoda Manzo Mutare, Zimbabwe, at the Anglophone Writers’ Workshop in 2014. She offered her writing quietly and tentatively, prefacing her reading by saying she was not a writer. But her words left the room in stunned silence. In a few carefully chosen words she can tell an intimate story that speaks to the heart.
This devotion by Rev. Dr. Rhoda Manzo was published in The Upper Room Daily Devotional Guide (July-August, 2016 Issue).

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

– Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)

When my husband was critically ill, I prayed and fasted, asking God to heal him; but my husband died. At that moment I could not understand why God did not answer my prayer. But during my grieving moment a friend shared David’s story in today’s reading with me. I found strength in David’s words when he said: “Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”

God answers prayer but not always in the way we want or expect. David fasted and prayed desperately that the child would live, even when he knew that God clearly had said that the child would die. David thought his prayer and fasting would change the outcome — but it did not. God did not heal David’s child or my husband, but God did remain present.

Losing a loved one is painful, but we can learn to move forward. We can take comfort in God’s promise to Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). When we draw on God’s grace day by day and allow God to heal our wounded soul, life will go on, and God will always be there for us.

Rev. and Mr. Manzo on their wedding day.
Rev. and Mr. Manzo on their wedding day.