Recently, I prayed for rain. There was a drought, and although I’ve accepted that times are getting worse, I still prayed for some relief. It didn’t rain that day. The next day, I still had hope and checked the forecast. I saw that there would be rain in the afternoon. I was so excited, but as the hours passed by, I noticed outside become less cloudy instead of more. I rechecked the weather and saw that the rain in the forecast had disappeared. I felt incredibly disappointed. I was searching for a small bit of sunshine, and confirmation that God was still willing to show up, but I received none of those things.
Or so I thought. Later that afternoon, outside became incredibly dark. The storms lasted for hours. Buckets of rain just kept pouring down. I had to laugh when the rain wouldn’t seem to stop because it reminded me that when we ask God to show up, we better be prepared for a downpour. Needless to say, I was thankful. What may not feel so obvious, however, is that I was also concerned. Did I only trust God to deliver rain when I could see rain in the forecast? Am I the kind of person that needs an indication that my prayer will be answered in order for me to believe that deliverance will come? I wondered – where is my faith?
What is Blocking my Faith from Shining?
On occasion, I’ve been accused of being an overthinker – but I’m thankful for the way my brain works. The space to think is what allows us to assess our choices and ponder our actions. Furthermore, when God gives us the gift of discernment, we are able to see where we may have gotten off track and what we need to do in order to course correct. As I thought about my forecast checking to confirm God’s answer, I couldn’t help but think that God was sending the Holy Spirit to gently tug on my arm. I was being asked the same question we must all ask ourselves at one point or another – where has my faith gone?
Why does it feel like it can disappear during the heaviest of trials or lightest of requests? As I thought about this more and more, by the grace of God, I came to the following conclusion: Accepting God’s will and believing that God will answer the petitions of our hearts can feel in direct conflict with one another, because on some levels they are. What we want may not be where God intends to take us, and for many of us, that’s the scariest part.
The Need for Confirmation
To solve for the risk, we ask God for signs. We look for little bits of light that tell us we’re marching on the right path, but sometimes, the lights grow dim. Sometimes, we’re operating in the appearance of complete darkness. Yet we are not alone. God has heard the petitions of our hearts, and He is asking us to not give up. It is Satan’s manipulation that makes us think that darkness means we’re alone. Not so. Instead, if we remain connected to Christ, we know for a fact that He is working on our behalf. We don’t need to check the forecast for confirmation. Rain is coming; we just need to hold the faith.
Now you might ask – is there anything wrong with seeking confirmation? After all, Gideon asked for a sign to confirm that Israel would be saved by his hand. In fact, Gideon asked for two signs, and he received both. (Judges 6) There is nothing wrong with asking God for a sign, but we also need to recognize that not seeing an indication of a problem being solved doesn’t mean that the problem won’t be solved. With God, it doesn’t matter if rain shows up in the forecast or not. If God is going to bring forth rain, He’s just going to do it. And this is the premise of faith. Hebrews 11:6 tells us:
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
God’s Love Revealed
If we search the scriptures, there are many examples of God’s love and compassion revealed to those who diligently sought Him but received no indication of their outcomes. For example, there was no reason to believe that Daniel would survive the lion’s den. In fact, many of us today would have resigned ourselves to the fate of the death once the punishment was handed down by the king. Yet Daniel survived through the night and served as a witness to God’s greatness. The same could be said for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. Their outcome remained unknown as they were tossed into the fiery furnace. Deliverance seemed impossible but thank God, their lives were still saved.
I think of Queen Esther. She went before the king not knowing if he would hold out his golden scepter and spare her life. But he did, and she was able to save the lives of the Israelites. And what about Lazarus? He was sick, and then he died. By every indication, his story was over. Even his sister Mary said to Jesus when He arrived: “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:32) Yet with God, anything is possible at any time. And with that fact, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.
God’s love revealed doesn’t always come with the reassurances that we want. In fact, God’s mystery often shows up at the most unexpected moments, defying human logic. Leave it to us, Lazarus would have never died. But to God, this situation would allow people to truly grasp that Christ was Lord, and with Him, the impossible always becomes possible.
A Reason to Hope
I understand however, that sometimes in our darkness, we want a reason to hope. We want to see something that inspires our confidence – a sign from God letting us know that He is still here. We don’t want a Lazarus moment because the pain feels too much to bear. In those moments, we ask ourselves – what if the impossible remains impossible? Well, to that, God might ask us in return – where is our faith? Where is our ability to trust in God’s timing and His decisions?
To stay strong in Christ, even when we feel weak, requires us to remember the power of choice. It’s the choices we make during our waiting periods… the choice to be grateful, to spend time in devotion, to be open to correction, and to be willing to let God lead. These are the choices that allow God to redirect our paths, creating the space required for us to renew our faith in Him and tap into God’s blessings.
It will always be our choice to call upon the name of the Lord, but it’s God’s promises that let us know He is always willing to answer. This is our reason to hope. We may not see every sign that we want, but rest assured, God will not abandon you in your time of need. God’s love has no limits, and His mercy has no bounds. Knowing this, we can walk forward in faith having the confidence that God will do exactly what He says He can do.
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