Sometimes it is not easy to understand the reason for suffering.
We all have someone in our lives who is in need of healing whether it is physical, emotional or spiritual. It’s hard to watch someone we love suffer with an addiction, a disease, or the consequences of a poor choice.
I have been praying about some very tough circumstance for several years and it is exhausting to continually ask, seek, and knock when I am not seeing the results for which I am praying. I am ashamed to admit this, but I have been questioning whether or not God has been hearing my prayers.
The other day I as brought forth my prayer requests I realized the words I chose to pray were telling God that I did not want to get my hopes up. (Was I insinuating He might not be able to answer my petitions?) To complicate it more, I realized the words I chose were also telling God, the creator of the universe, how to answer my prayers. Pretty bold move on my part! I was startled at this realization because this is how I have been praying for years.
I randomly opened my Bible to a page and found this verse from Jeremiah: “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” This was exactly what I needed to read. It gave me peace and encouragement not only for myself, but for the people I am praying so hard for.
As I meditated on that verse reading it over and over, it became clear that I was so focused on wanting the answer to the “big prayer” that I have been missing His “smaller answers” along the way. For example, one of the people I am praying for has an addiction and is currently getting intensive help and is gradually finding the answers he/she needs. Friends, family members and even distance acquaintances have given generous acts of service to keep his/her family going while he/she is away. Another person is finding random financial resources to get through a very tough financial time where they are truly living paycheck to paycheck with little to no savings as a safety net. The beginning stages of dementia are challenging for another person and the unexpected patience of their spouse is a beautiful thing to see.
These examples are not the specific answers I am praying for, but I am so very, very thankful I have come to recognize these “smaller answers”.
I know His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. These sufferings are not easy and I admit I am afraid I will not receive the answers I so deeply desire; but I know in my heart that God’s plan is always the best plan. I am trying hard to develop patience and understanding that He will help us through every seemingly impossibility we face. I desire to pray with more thanks, seek His guidance and develop an acceptance to His response. I desire to pray boldly, specifically, and without ceasing.
I also want to look for, expect, and appreciate the “smaller answers” to my prayers that God sends.
I sincerely want to see these sufferings as a privilege and an opportunity to watch what God does best ~ making the seemingly impossible possible as He draws us closer to Him through His goodness.
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