I was recently searching through a shelf of old journals, trying to find a possibly blank one. Of course, I was running into tons of old entries, trying not to read them because I don’t have time to dig into all of that mess.
Somehow, though, one entry from a couple of years ago caught my eye.
I’d written down the same vision God keeps giving me — one that has taken me years to accept. I also wrote down some practical areas in which I needed to work on my self-discipline.
At first, I felt an inkling of shame. I still work on these things, I thought. But a voice within me countered — Yes, but you’re better at them now than you were then. By the grace of God (and only that), progress has been made.
I’m thankful now to see the slow movements God has made over the past few years, but I can guarantee you that when I have prayed for things, I thought they’d come true right away. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve struggled to hold on to faith when too much time passed and my prayer seemingly went unanswered.
I’ve especially felt this when praying for or working toward spiritual things. These are good, God pleasing things, and I have been shocked when He hasn’t delivered on my timing. Even typing this, I hear myself, but it’s true.
I think one of the major things God has taught me about Himself recently is that He is in this thing for the long haul. His perspective is much broader than mine. And He is concerned with His timing, not my demands.
This goes for things I can understand, and it applies to things I can’t. I know that there will be many ways I will look back on my life and see the pieces fall into place, and I know, too, that many things will be hidden until I see Him in eternity.
In our fast-food culture, it’s easy to get stressed if we pray and don’t get an immediate response. We wonder if we worded it wrong, if we have some hidden sin blocking God from answering, if somehow He had other things to tend to besides us.
I love how the Amplified Bible words this well-known verse:
Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you;
seek and keep on seeking and you will find;
knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you.
-Matthew 7:7 (I added my own emphasis)
A note on this verse says that it “emphasizes persistent, constant prayer” — not praying until you’re tired of it, not one big faith-filled prayer on Sunday that gets deflated by real life on Monday.
It might mean prayer and trust for days. Months. Years.
He’s good, though, to be so faithful, so present for our whole lives. He sees all things; He knows what would be the ultimate best.
So keep on, friend. Stay the course. Point your prayers and your pleas and your trust toward Jesus. Do the work and put into practice the good things, even if you don’t see the results.
And sometime, when you have the time, maybe dig out an old journal, and ask the Lord to show you all the ways He has answered the prayers you prayed and strengthened you where you were weak. Count out His faithfulness.
For He is faithful,
and He is interested in your whole story,
and He is bringing beauty out of ashes,
and nothing is ever wasted with Him.