Do you ever struggle with unanswered prayer? Does it ruffle your control feathers when it seems that God has answered with a “wait,” or worse yet, a “no.”? Truly, one of the greatest challenges I have personally navigated as a Christ-follower has been watching the petitions of others open doors and bring breakthrough, while I have clung desperately to the sometimes flimsy belief that God loves me, too.
But from those who seemed to be something—whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man—for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me. – Galatians 2:6
The truth is that some of the longest desert experiences I have walked through have brought with them unexpected growth and insight that I would have otherwise not had the opportunity to experience, had not those seasons gone on as long as they did. While I was shaking my fist at the timeline of God, He was patiently putting into place everything I needed to triumphantly navigate the next season of my journey.
My mouth shall speak wisdom, And the meditation of my heart shall give understanding. – Psalm 49:3
Over the years, my understanding of the words in the bible have changed. As my filter system has developed, and my understanding of the nature of God has evolved, many of the scriptures I once read as being condemning I now understand as gentle warnings of the harsher truths of life. No longer do I receive stated consequences to choice as a punishment, but as a deeper knowing that there is a wise manner in which to walk. And, not to walk.
One cannot say we have not been warned.
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. – James 1:6
The single most significant breakthrough of my adult life happened after 13 years of prayer. Yes, 13. I will be completely honest with you that my faith wavered many a time, and doubt reigned in my heart more than I like to admit. Tempering my faith was the cloud of disillusionment, and there were weeks of clamoring, weeping, begging, and screaming, followed by a full surrender to whatever God had planned for me. I took my hope, tattered and torn, wrapped it in grief, and defeated, placed it at the foot of the cross for Him to do what He would.
A few years later (yes, years), I saw a tiny break in the clouds, and over the subsequent months, I chose to believe again in the journey to breakthrough that lasted yet another 4 years of prayer and resignation to the process.
On the other side of that season, I find myself no longer tossed by the wind, or at least, when I am, not for as long as before. I walk in greater confidence in the truth that my Heavenly Father hears my cries, for He has shown me He is faithful.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! – 1 Chronicles 16:8
Wherever you are in your personal faith journey today, my prayer would be that you could find encouragement in knowing that just as we grow and change, so does the fulness of our understanding of His faithfulness increase. Limiting or seemingly condemning, or at least directive, scriptures, become less challenging and more reassuring. Words that once seemed hard to fathom, or believe, begin to take shape in our own lives – revealing parts of the mysteries of life and unfolding into a beautiful canvas of color, painted just for us.
May your journey become just a little more clear, your faith a wee bit stronger, and His warnings your weapons against the battles you face today.