As I was walking on the University of Oregon campus yesterday, I was praying about some things that are on my heart. Some of those things would be impossible without God’s intervention. I confess to being rather discouraged about some of them right now. As I walked and prayed, I looked up and saw this scene: the sun beginning to break through the clouds. My first thought was of the Scripture that tells us that one day Jesus will break though the clouds and return to earth. Then, the thought came that one day, too, when we are praying according to God’s will, we will see the answers to our prayers appear as the sun appears after the rain.
I’m sure that the children of Israel wondered what God had done to them when they were up against the Red Sea with the Egyptian army just behind them, but then God parted the Red Sea! (Exodus 14). And then again as they stood at the edge of the flooding Jordan River just before God parted it for them. (Joshua 3) Then, I can only imagine how some of them felt as they walked around and around the city of Jericho. However, at the right time in accordance with their obedience, the walls of the city fell down. (Joshua 6) In the book of Mark, chapter 4, we learn about the time that the disciples thought they were going to die while Jesus was sleeping in the back of he boat. Then he calmed the sea, and they were saved. Finally, I think of the time that Martha and Mary were disappointed with Jesus because he did not come and heal their brother, Lazarus. (John 11) However, Jesus had something much bigger in store for them than a simple healing.
So what should we do when we’re smack up against a big impassable roadblock to our progress in some area, or have plodded around a problem time after time with no success, or things are happening that we can’t understand, and it seems like Jesus doesn’t care?
Here is what the Lord through His Word has been telling me:
- Don’t depend on your own understanding. (Proverb 3:5-6) There are too many things that I can’t understand, but God sees the big picture. A young child will not understand why his/her parent has barricaded the door because they do not understand the danger that is on the other side. We, too, cannot understand all that God sees and knows.
- Trust that God has heard and is working even when you cannot see it. (Also, Prov. 3: 5-6) In all of the above examples, God was not unaware of what was happening. He had a plan, and He was working it out.
- Present your requests and prayers to God. (Acts 6:4, Romans 12:12, Eph. 6:18)
- Always be willing for His will to be done, and not your own.(Matthew 6:10)
- Walk by faith and don’t doubt that God will in His perfect timing and perfect way hear and answer your prayer. (2 Cor. 5:7, Heb. 11:6) For me, this means getting up out of my chair, and go about my day, serving the Lord as He gives me opportunity, always being confident and watchful for that time that the He will do His perfect work! I will look up and see my answered prayer, and I will rejoice!
It has helped me to write this all down; I hope that it will be helpful and encouraging to you, as well!
As always, I welcome your comments and feedback!