01 May, 2015

The other end of answered prayer

I periodically talk about answered prayer here. I certainly try to report on answered prayer when I write our monthly prayer/newsletter. But today, I'm thinking about earlier, the time when I don't yet have an answer to my prayer.

The story of this house's provision for us
in 2010 and continued provision for us
as of July this year is a story I need to keep
telling myself.
That is a hard place. It's a place where you lack control. You don't know what's going to happen with that particular need or desire. You are left with trust. Trust in prayer and trust in the God who provides.

I have to admit I haven't had to wait for really big answers, like healing from a terminal illness, or the protection of a loved one from violent death or even for a child to be given to me. 

But I have had to wait for jobs, cars, houses, a husband, for financial provision after quitting a job, for permission to do what we've been telling everyone we were going to do (become missionaries in Japan), and for the provision of shelter and furniture  for my family as we change countries every few years. I've had to wait for my children to go through difficulties at school and at home, wait to see the results of the parenting I try my best to do. Wait for smaller things like someone to take care of my kids at a key moment when I don't have any family in the country, or for someone to give me or my kids a lift school in the rain.

I have discovered that in the waiting is value. While I wait, I grow in my trust in my heavenly father. Because I've waited for God's financial provision, I'm less stressed next time such a situation occurs. Because I've seen God answer these prayers, I know that He can provide for me. When I retell myself the stories of the last time He answered my prayer, I relax a little. I relinquish my desire to control the outcome. And I put my eyes back on Him, waiting for his provision for me.

It still isn't easy, because like most people I like to think I am in control, and not knowing how something will work out means I have little control. It makes me anxious and frustrated.

But I try to cling to the knowledge that my God does care about me and He does provide all I need, even if it isn't in the way or with the timing that I imagine would be best.
Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.“As the heavens are higher than the earth,    so are my ways higher than your ways    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
So, what I imagine and plan for this transition back to Japan, may or may not be the way it works out. 
Romans 8:25, 28, 31-32. "But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. . . . And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. . . What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
So, I'm here today to remind myself to: 
Psalm 27:14 "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."

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