A few weeks ago it tried to snow here. My daughter and I went for a walk with our best buddies to enjoy what we could of the snow falling from the sky.
I lifted up my face toward the falling flakes and thought out loud, I sure wish these snowflakes were bigger and sticking more to the ground. It would be a lot more fun.
I stopped right after that thought and felt convicted about how I just couldn’t enjoy what was happening, but instead I needed it different, better.
That’s when I decided I would have fun no matter how much snow we had. So, for the next half hour or so I enjoyed the flakes falling down. And so did the girls!
It stopped before all of us went in, which I will admit was very disappointing, because the thought of sliding down the hill by the school on saucers was very enticing.
Instead, we went inside to have some sweets and more play-time. All in all it was a fun afternoon.
I realize how easy it is to not enjoy what is right in front of me.
Like I will clean our place and while I am cleaning, I make a list of other things I need to clean and so I don’t ever fully enjoy the work that gets done that day. I always have a list.
When I get something new, it is very easy to look around and see what I can’t afford, or other things that I would like to buy too. So once again, I have a list.
The list of wants can go on and on, ways of not feeling satisfied.
Then there are the times when there really is a very true need. And the list can grow and grow. It seems as though the need is not or will not get met.
What does a person do with unmet needs? How does a person keep their faith that God does hear our prayers, He does listen, He does answer, and He has not forgotten us?
In Psalm 139, it tells us that God knows what we are going to think or say before we do. So why do prayers seem to go unanswered? Why the long wait?
Right now, I wish I could just say…this is why…and give the answer to myself and to you if you need to know.
I've heard and read lots of reasons why. Growth in faith, learning to trust God, God has perfect timing, and I do fully agree with these reasons. I've read Bible stories where it seemed to the person that God was taking forever to answer their prayer, but He did end up answering their prayer when the time was right.
But what about when the prayer just seems to be unanswered such as - for someone’s health and they continue to suffer, for a sick person to recover and they don’t, safety for someone who ends up getting hurt or killed, a business to turn around and instead it closes, a relationship to heal and instead it ends, job security and instead job loss, prayers for someone single to marry and they remain single.
It can be something you desperately need help with and it looks like help is not coming.
There are those times in life that God is building our faith.
There are those times in life where we are learning to trust Him in extreme situations.
There are those times in life where we are waiting for God’s perfect timing.
There are times in life where we are wanting a specific answer, and although God is doing something awesome, the answer is not what we were hoping to receive.
And… there are those times in life where we are to bow our knee and submit to His ultimate plan.
As part of the reading for our women’s group, I’m reading the book of Job right now. I will admit I've never taken the time to thoroughly read this book. I've only picked and chose some verses to read.
But now I realize how much I missed out. It’s an amazing story. The poor guy is living a super good life, loving God, loving his family, and very prosperous. God points him out to the enemy and the enemy scoffs at his loyalty to God. He tells him he’s only loyal because basically God had lavished so much good on him.
So the devil gets permission to do whatever he wants to Job, except take his life. Now, isn't that a scary prospect? The devil destroys his home, health, profession, and his children all die. My heart just dropped right down to the floor imagining the extreme loss and grief this man suffered.
The story gets even worse… after he’s been attacked by the enemy and is sitting in grief with boils all over his body, his wife encourages him to shake his fist at God. And his friends…oh goodness…they gather round him and no matter what Job says to his friends about his situation, they just keep spouting off about how he had to be a big sinner to end up in the situation that he ended up in. Job again and again explains he has done nothing wrong. He is a victim and wants to talk to God about what is happening in his life.
The entire time, although Job does lament about his situation, he truly keeps his faith in God and who God is.
Now, in the beginning of the book it explains the “why,” and the “what,” about Job’s situation so it’s obvious his friends are way off base. The poor guy has been attacked by the enemy, and God knows Job’s heart is faithful and that Job will be okay.
I have actually read the end of this story and know how it turns out. We don’t know the end of our story here on earth yet, however, we do know, that if we have put our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior, what our continuing story is after we leave earth. Yet, our days here on earth can be a mystery. They can be filled with incredible joy or immense pain, rich or poor, healthy or sick, lots of friends or lots of enemies. There are so many different seasons that we can be in.
And the entire time, like Job, we have to trust God with the outcome, no matter what.
In the book of Psalms, chapter 23, talks about walking through the shadow of death, and not having to fear evil, because God is there for us.
When there are dark moments, isn't it better to be able to hold onto the hand of the one who loves so much and can see what we can’t? Why be alone?
When I was younger I used to love to go through haunted houses. The last one I remember going through was so dark and it was incredibly scary. I held onto my friend so tight. I was terrified about what or who would come up behind me, but holding onto my friend helped me through those dark passages.
When I was older I went through some really trying times. I again held onto my friends and loved ones, unsure of what was going to come up in my life. And then one day, when I turned my life over to Jesus, I still held onto my friends and family, but I had a peace, knowing that no matter what came my way, there was someone bigger, all knowing, and really powerful watching not only my back, but my eternity.
If only life could be simple and it could seem like we were on a vacation in the Bahamas all of the time, surrounded by our loved ones. But…it’s not…there are tsunamis, earthquakes, illness, famines, and death to deal with while we are living on this earth.
It can be hard. It can be good. But the really hard times are better when we bow and know that He is the King. The good King, who loves us beyond measure…whose thoughts toward us are more than the grains of sand…who gave up His Son’s life for US.
Linda J. Reinhardt, coauthor of Like a Bird Wanders, Once Upon a Christmas, Always Home for Christmas, Hidden Song and Silenced Song (OakTara), has always enjoyed writing a poem, song, or story. She is active in leading small group Bible studies: HEART (Healing and Encouragement for Abortion Related Trauma), Time to Heal, Women's Bible Study, prayer group, and speaks for StoneCroft Ministries. www.lindajreinhardt.blogspot.com