I was so angry when I found out. Someone dear to me lost a child. A little baby, full of promise and it just wasn’t fair. I wish I could have been that shining example of trusting God with this hard thing, but I wasn’t. I just couldn’t understand why He let this happen. This happened nearly two decades ago, but I remember it just like it was yesterday.
I had been praying for this woman. I was so certain that everything that was possible was being done to make sure the outcome would be her baby safely delivered into her arms. But it didn’t happen that way. This sweet soul went into the arms of God. He was delivered, but with a still heart into the arms of broken hearts that day.
This past summer, as I was memorizing Hebrews 11, saying it over and over and meditating on it, so many lessons for my heart were born. Since it is considered “The Hall of Faith” chapter, God pressed into my mind teaching and examples I hope I never forget.
“Through faith also Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.” Hebrews 11:11
Faith is not in our genes. It cannot be passed down from one generation to another in that manner. We aren’t Christians because our parents are. It doesn’t seep into our lives because our best friends are full of faith or all our teachers were. We become Christians by personally making a decision to follow Jesus Christ. We must believe in Him for ourselves, place our faith in Him.
I’ve heard it described this way. A chair promises to hold you when you sit down but you’ll never really believe in it until you actually sit down in it. Put all your weight in the promise it makes. Sarah sat down.
Sarah had a judgement call to make. Either God was faithful or He was not. Every time we doubt, dwell in our anxieties or worry, we judge God unfaithful. How could we do that? I can do it though, every single time the “awful” happens. Because I am so forgetful, and need reminding that He is faithful, that He does indeed know what’s needed before the asking.
“…For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” (Matthew 6:8)
But if He knows we have need of certain things, does that mean He gives them to us every time we ask? Even with faith, believing? I think not. Not because He cannot. Because “…with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26) And to follow Jesus into this truth we have to pray His example: “Father, all things are possible for You; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:36)
He loves us too much to give us things that are not in His perfect will. Even if it hurts, we have to realize that He hurts with us, He grieves with us, because He is Emmanuel, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23) He is always the answer to our prayers. When we are not satisfied with the way things turn out, and we become angry or bitter, could we be telling God that His being with us is not enough?
How many times have things not worked out the way I prayed, yet a better outcome surfaced? More times than I can count.
A few years later, that precious woman in my opening paragraph welcomed a child into her family through adoption. I had lost touch with her until we bumped into each other at SAMS. She caught me up on her children. It was awesome! Such joy after such sorrow. God was and is and always will be faithful.
What I am becoming is always more important than what I can accomplish. If I am becoming more and more a woman of faith, I am being successful in the only thing that really matters. Because to have more faith is to know and trust God with more of me and my life. All of it.
Sarah, herself, is an example of this. I cannot imagine how many times she had to have given up on having a baby. In her impatience, she gave her own handmaid to her husband so that she could have a child through her. That didn’t work out so well did it? (Read Genesis 16) Every month the disappointment. Every year the emptiness of her womb. All the way through menopause even. Can you imagine? it may have happened in her old age, but she finally did it, the Scripture says it happened, “she judged Him faithful… ”
Why do we pray and then get impatient for the answer? Could it be that we expect God to do things on our time frame when He is far too wise to do that?
Even if it hurts we have to realize that He hurts with us, He grieves with us, because He is Emmanuel, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)
We tell Him we are praying in faith and He already knows that. We tell Him we need it now and He says we have Him now, and that is always enough.
Enough to cause us to experience peace while we are waiting.
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14: 27)
Enough to cause us to experience the reward of keeping the faith.
“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.” (Hebrews 11:6)
Could it be we are seeking the “thing” more than we are seeking Him? I believe that the more we seek Him, He gently impresses on our hearts the desires that match His. Our requests may change as we seek Him because He changes us instead of our circumstances. Only a God that knows us better than we know ourselves is worthy of that kind of faith. And as we study His Word, seek Him in prayer and obey His leading are we transformed into the women of faith who can do all things. How powerful is that?
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
The verse that comes before this one is crucial to note in order to not take such a statement out of context, “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I have learned to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” (Philippians 4:12)
Whether we get the answers we want or we get the worst news we could imagine, we can “do” it because of His strength. Because our own certainly won’t be enough. We can never forget this, because when we do, we judge God unfaithful. And that couldn’t be further from the truth.