Have you ever walked through a season in your life where you just could not see how it would ever work out? Where no matter how hard you tried to fix it, how hard you prayed, or how many times you dropped to your knees sobbing, the answer just wouldn’t come? A season when people say “God has a plan, trust in His timing,” and you believe it & doubt it at the same time?
I have this quote saved on my “Words to live by” Pinterest board
Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith. -Elisabeth Elliot
Isn’t that what we tend to do? We pray and think surely God will provide us with a quick solution. Sooooo, what happens when he doesn’t? What happens when things don’t change, or maybe get worse? Its so easy to try and take matters into our own hands, to micromanage, to tell God the timeline he is supposed to be working on. I mean, maybe he missed the memo that listed out the details of our 5-10-20yr plan. When it seemed like my prayers just were not being answered I found myself reading this passage over & over.
Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. -2 Corinthians 12:8-10(NLT)
Paul was one of the biggest champions for the Christian faith, yet his prayers were going unanswered. he BEGGED the Lord multiple times to take away the thorn in his flesh, but the answer each time was “no.” It wasn’t “no” because Paul wasn’t worthy or because he didn’t deserve to live his life without this thorn. God had plans to use that thorn in Paul’s flesh to teach a lesson. It was a reminder not just for Paul, but also for us. A reminder that no matter what types of hardships we are facing, no matter how hard it seems, how many prayers are going unanswered, that in Christ WE ARE STRONG! Not because we ourselves are strong, but because God gives us the strength we need, when we are seeking an authentic relationship with him. Sometimes that strength is to persevere through a season of waiting.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12(NIV)
Even when facing what can seem like devastating trials we are called to be joyful. I don’t know many people that can say with joy that they are glad their husband broke his back. I don’t say that to toot my own horn, because it was NOT always easy to be joyful. Our hopes were crushed time & time again. Each time we thought we had found the answer, the problem would just get worse. Until finally, we were left with a life that didn’t resemble the one we’d planned for at all. We remained patient, some days better then others. Honestly, it was usually JC being patient, not me. During these past few years though we have learned to rely on God, trust in His timing, and have faith and genuine joy in HIS plan.
“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” Matthew 17:20(NLT)
Kind of a random moment, that was actually the inspiration for this post before my brain went in a whole other direction…
…When JC was medically retired from the military our pay was cut drastically. We were making about 1/4 of what we had been making in the military and had no clue if/when that would change. I remember standing in the grocery store one time, trying to keep the food bill for a family of six as low as possible, and realizing that we just couldn’t afford the bottle of mustard that JC had requested. A few months later God started piecing together what his plan had been for our “little” family all along. I know it wasn’t a mustard seed, but it made me think of the verse. It reminded me that if I would put my faith in God, leave my faith in Him even when I didn’t understand his timetable, that NOTHING would be impossible.
If you have a few minutes go read Psalm 37. You can read the NLT version here. It is such a great source of encouragement in those times when you feel weary from waiting. If you don’t read the whole Psalm I hope you will take comfort in verse 5.
Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you. -Psalm 37:5(NLT)