National Chaplain's Message

Robert Allen Vick
National Chaplain of The American Legion



I received a phone call one day from a very distraught wife who asked me to come to the hospital as soon as possible to pray for her husband who had suffered  a massive heart attack. She advised me that paramedics arrived and performed lifesaving efforts, including shocking his heart several times.

I drove to the city where they lived, arrived at the hospital where I found him in very bad condition. She explained to me what had occurred and assured me that her husband was a man of faith. She explained he had accepted Christ as his personal Savior as a young man.

We three joined hands, as is scriptural, and prayed earnestly in faith believing God hears prayers and answers them all. I prayed for his complete recovery, if it was His will.

He died. It would appear to the world that God had not answered our prayer.

Did God not hear our prayers?   Did God not listen? Was He too busy?  Did He not care?

No. No. No. A thousand times no!

He heard our prayer and answered it. He just didn’t answer it as we wanted. Where were you when I needed you?

Some folks, in their abject sorrow blame God, or go so far as to curse Him.  Some lose their faith altogether at this time. Mothers have cried out, where were you when my child died?

Not only you, but your friends cry out to God for the wants and needs of your heart.

But they die anyway.

Where was God when these things occurred?

I always tell people that God was in exactly the same place He was when His son was nailed to the cross for you and me, for the penalty of our sin.

Did God suffer then? Of course He did, just as you suffered.

The upshot is that if Christ had not died, we would still be our sins, with no hope.

God, in His complete foreknowledge, may have known of a far worse ending than the one your loved one suffered, and it was His way of  relieving you and your loved one from far worse in the future.

People become ill and recover all the time, is this God’s will also?  Sure.

Jesus prayed in the garden just before His crucifixion, and His humanity cried out to God,

his father, the eight words that define prayer: “Not as I will but as you will.”

He further cried out “O, my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it thy will be done.”

Have you ever considered the consequences if all prayers were answered yes?

How about that man or woman you thought you could not live without, only to be thankful that prayer was not answered?

God heard that prayer and said, “No my child, this is not right for you.”

God hears and says yes, or no, or not now my child.

When the time is right He will answer and the blessing will be far greater.

The eight words of Jesus puts your prayer into proper perspective.

There is one prayer that God will always answer yes,  immediately, and that is the prayer of a penitent man seeking forgiveness.

Visit your American Legion post and be an example. You may be the only bible some people will ever read.

Yes I am my brother's keeper. God bless you.

Bob Vick