I have had several experiences where God was busy at work answering a particular prayer while I had to wait wondering if He was involved at all. I remember a pleading prayer I prayed begging God to bless me with a little girl. It was my heart’s cry. I wanted so much to be pregnant that I asked everyone to pray for me, including the ladies in my summer Bible study. I really think God has a sense of humor, because it turned out that at that Bible study, I was already pregnant, but I just didn’t know it. And guess what? I had a beautiful little girl. She is even more beautiful today as she just turned thirteen and is becoming an amazing young lady with a very compassionate heart. I wish all my answers came so quickly, but many of them take much longer. Dreadfully longer. Can you relate?
I am currently writing a memoir about a life-changing prayer experience. I was encouraged by my pastor to pray for my neighbors and for them to come to know Jesus. I prayed that God would use me in my neighbor Shelby’s life as she was addicted to meth and had lost custody of her daughter, Allison. I continued praying these prayers for a decade. Many times I grew discouraged waiting for my quick fix miracle to happen. I wanted an instant supernatural transformation, but it didn’t happen that way. Shelby continued to struggle and circumstances got worse before ever improving.
I won’t say there weren’t hints that God was working along the way, but last Sunday as I looked down my row at Allison, Shelby’s daughter, almost ten years after my initial prayers for Shelby, I recognized what God had been doing all along. Allison, who could have been lost in the foster care system, never knowing Jesus, has become like a second daughter to me. She works in our church nursery every week and even volunteered recently to feed the homeless. I am so proud of her. I am beyond blessed today to know that I have not only a biological daughter, but a spiritual daughter as well. I truly believe that even as I begged him to give me a biological daughter, He smiled to himself knowing that just one year later, another little girl would be born as well. Often, God grants us more than we could ask for.
Last week, I secretly watched Allison as she held up her hands in worship to Jesus and seemed to be in a world of her own with her heavenly father. Allison would most likely never have entered a church except perhaps on an occasional Easter or Christmas if we hadn’t met. She may not have found Jesus. But, God had a plan to bring two daughters into my world and into His arms. Both Brielle and Allison are filled today with His love. And as an added bonus, they are best friends.
I recognize this incredible miracle as a marker of how God has answered my prayers over the years. When I met Shelby, she didn’t have much interest in church, but now three of her four children attend with me every week. I had the privilege of baptizing Allison with two of my children and I pray that someday I will have the pleasure of baptizing their mom as well.
I just want to encourage you today to keep praying those agonizing prayers with answers that are unseen. You can trust that God is at work even when it takes a long, long time. Having God answer a prayer quickly can be very meaningful. However, it is those prayers that we labor over for a long time that truly draw us closer to Him.
His Word Tells Us…
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are becoming new day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. –2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that He has promised. – Hebrews 10:36
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. –Psalm 37:4
Help give us faith to put our trust in you. Please meet our emotional, physical and spiritual needs. Help provide good relationships for us where we can feel supported and encouraged in our faith. Help meet our financial needs and lead us to make good decisions about our health. Remind us to spend time in prayer and to fellowship regularly with others who are on the same faith journey as we are.
Give us faith and endurance to trust that your hand is at work even in the situations where we don’t see it. Help us to be still and know you are God and to be reassured that you will meet our needs as day by day we delight ourselves in you.
In Jesus’ name,