The phone rang at 6:00 in the morning which is never a good sign. It was our lawyer calling to tell my husband and I that we had lost the court case which had consumed our lives for the last two years – and we had lost it badly. After hanging up the phone, my husband fell to the floor in our kitchen and cried out, “We’ve lost everything!”
Now flash forward 14 years. We didn’t lose everything. But we almost lost our faith. I came as close to a complete faith failure as I ever want to come. Over money, you say? Yes and No. This case was much more than about money. We had prayed and fasted and had people all over the country praying for us. We knew that we were in a spiritual battle and thus, we employed every spiritual weapon we could think of. And we still lost.
I think one of the hardest things about maintaining vigorous faith is dealing with the questions that arise when a prayer doesn’t get answered the way we believed it would. If the prayers are on a smaller scale, we may find it easier to rationalize a “No” answer. Example: We pray for a loan for a mortgage and get denied. After getting over the disappointment, we can accept the denial by saying that God is protecting us from making a financial mistake.
But what about when we pray for a child that is stricken with cancer and the child dies…despite hundreds of people praying for her? And what about when we pray for a marriage to be healed and it isn’t? What about when we pray for protection from lies and slander in a courtroom and it seems as though God left the building? How do we handle these hard tests of our faith?
The fact of the matter is that we are not God. While we could never fathom how a child dying of a terrible disease could be a part of God’s plan or that he could bring anything good out of that, we are simply not qualified to decide why a prayer wasn’t answered the way we feel it should have been. In those moments of head-scratching disappointment and loss, all we can do is fall back on what we know to be true – that God is good, that He will make all things beautiful in His time and that He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords – ultimately triumphant over death, hell and the grave.
God has made promises that cannot go unfulfilled because every word He speaks is truth. God cannot lie, so if the circumstances in our lives don’t line up with his promises for us, we can wait upon the Lord and trust that someday, somehow, He will have the last word over all of our losses and that He will reveal His victory to us and through us.
Now hear me on this waiting on God thing: Waiting on God is not a lazy uninvolved waiting, like turning on the TV while you wait for your friend to come over. Waiting on God is more like the tense alertness of a hunter who has followed the trail of the deer, studied their habits and knows where they are likely to show up – and then waits expectantly, wisely, and attentively.
For me, I had to make a conscious decision to return to the Lord, holding my hurt and questions out in front of me, willing to let them go…even if He didn’t give me reasons first. I had to make the decision to worship Him for Who I knew Him to be, even when my brain was screaming the opposite.
And that’s how I won the waiting game: I trusted God above my understanding of His ways. I worshiped Him beyond my ability to fathom why things turned out the way they did. And I thanked the Lord that I would see His goodness in the land of the living! During that season of loss, I learned the importance of waiting on God with thanksgiving and worship when I wanted to run in the opposite direction. I am so grateful for how the Lord came to me in such sweet assurance of His love holding me close until I was through it. If I hadn’t learned that secret of waiting on God, I know that I would have remained wounded.
I encourage you to write a prayer of commitment to wait upon the Lord, asking Him to nourish your soul in His presence and speak His life into your situations. Then WAIT upon the Lord.
- Often when we make a commitment to wait upon the Lord, all sorts of distractions will pop up out of nowhere. The phone will ring, someone will need us, the kids will call from school saying that they forgot their homework, or we suddenly realize that the sink is full of dishes. When you make the commitment to spend time waiting upon the Lord, do everything you can to move distractions out of your way and maintain your focus on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of your faith.
- Right now, our church is engaging in a 40 day fast. We are leaning into the Lord in order to position ourselves for breakthrough in our country, our cities and in our families. I encourage you to couple your waiting on the Lord with fasting. You will see amazing results when you let prayer and fasting work together like the leverage of a see-saw. A six year old can lift his daddy five feet in the air if he is positioned correctly on a see-saw. So lean into the presence of the Lord in prayer and fasting and wait to see what the Lord will do in situations that seem beyond repair.
Phil. 1:28: And do not (for a moment) be frightened or intimidated in anything by your opponents and adversaries, for such constancy and fearlessness will be a clear sign (proof and seal) to them of their impending destruction but a sure token and evidence of your deliverance and salvation and that from God. (Amp)