I had the privilege to do a devotion Friday night at a prayer group’s Christmas party. As I prepared the message for the night, I thought about the prayer warriors who would be attending. They meet on a regular basis together to pray for one another and for the burdens each one carries. I met some of the women about five years ago when I spoke for their group and I was excited to see how God had answered prayers in the time between first meeting them and now. Although some of them were still praying for the same issues, same people, and seemingly not getting anywhere with their prayers.
It was exciting to me that the message I had prepared Friday night was one that said, “Never give up.” After hearing the prayer requests of the women, I realized this message God had given me was timely and pertinent to this group. Since some had been praying for many years with no answers, I pray that my message gave hope to those who felt like their prayers have been hitting a ceiling instead of rising to the ears of God.
I can certainly relate to those who wonder at times if God is even listening to their prayers. About two years ago, Jim and I felt God telling us to get our home ready to sell because we were to move. So we did just that. We had some delay with the process with my mom’s illness slowing us down a bit, but eventually we got the house on the market. As you know if you’ve been reading my blog, we thought we had it sold recently and then the deal fell through. So here we sit again…waiting. We really don’t understand the delay as we both felt led to get ready when we started the process. Saturday night Jim and I were questioning why this process has taken so long? If God wanted us to move, why haven’t we yet? We’re living with a lot of our treasured possessions boxed up instead of being in our home where we can enjoy them because we have staged the house to sell. It’s getting really old having to keep everything in perfect condition too so that at the drop of a hat, we can allow someone to show the home. We’re growing weary in the process and we were questioning, “Why, when we do all the right things, and try to be obedient to God, do we have to go through these times when it feels like He is not hearing our prayers?”
Last week an article came out about my son’s mission in Afghanistan and it said this was perhaps the most dangerous mission that they have sent the Ohio Army National Guard to in all of the last 10 years of the war. Seeing that, my heart sank. I knew he’d been training for a long time for this mission and I knew it was dangerous. However, seeing it in writing just kind of stung a little harder. Rob’s wife told him that I was worried when I saw the article, which was true; but I’ve been worried since he left. Not in a way that I am not focused on God and trusting that He’s watching over Rob. Rather, I just have my mom beware set at high alert so that I am ready to pray him through at any time, day or night.
This week, I got an email from him I’d like to share a part of with you. It reads like this: Everything is fine over here, I’m fine, no major issues. … but don’t worry about me… Just keep me in your prayers and trust that everything will work out as it is meant to. What good is it to go to church and pray and blog and everything else Christians do just to end up worrying and getting all worked up about things anyways?
If you can’t trust God’s will to prevail when I’m in combat, and you don’t have faith that His will is divine and perfect, then what’s the point? I’m not trying to be preachy, but I just don’t want people worrying about me back there. Celebrate and embrace the fact that I’m doing what I was MEANT to do.
Then I went to church on Sunday and the pastor’s main message was “Never Give Up.” Hummm. I’m beginning to see a theme here. He spoke about God’s promise to Elizabeth and Zacharias to give them a baby—John the Baptist. However, if they were to have focused on their circumstances, they would’ve never believed it possible for God to fulfill that promise as He waited until much later in their lives to actually make it happen. We don’t really know how old they were when John was born but we know from scripture in Luke 1:18 that Zacharias said … “For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” I have to laugh when I read that. I am not sure I would count it a blessing to have a baby so late in life! She must have been one special lady!
It wasn’t until yesterday when I was sitting in church that I realized the message I gave on Friday night, was just as much for me as it was for all of the women in the group. Sunday, as our pastor said the exact words Jim and I had been saying the night before, I knew. He said, “When you are doing all of the right things, living a God honoring life and praying hard for something that just never seems to be happening…don’t give up.”
It’s true. If we believe God is Sovereign, then we have to believe that whatever happens is His perfect plan when we are praying and trusting Him to get us through. Who are we to question Him or disbelieve that He is hearing our prayers? He is God and we are not. In fact, He is the same God that I have trusted to watch over my son for the last 30 years here in America that I am trusting to watch over my son in Afghanistan today.
It gives me great peace to know that God’s plan is best for me and I need not worry about things. I just need to pray and trust that He has it all under control. So if you’ve been praying for something longer than you think you should, think again. I hope that during this holiday season, you too, will find peace in knowing that since God is God, we don’t have to worry. He’s got it all under control! We just need to keep going and never give up!
From my son’s words may I leave you with this: May the peace of God find its way into your mind during this Christmas season; as it has permeated your heart through years of answered prayers, hardships turned into blessings, and the promise that a throne awaits all who believe, regardless of how we get there.
Matthew 6:34 (NKJV) 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NKJV) 17 pray without ceasing,