When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. —Isaiah 43:2 (ESV)
Yesterday, I leafed though a Bible I had not used in a while. I have a habit of writing prayers on small pieces of paper and tucking them in between the pages of whatever Bible I’m using and this Bible had quite a few of those prayer notes.
When I write out my requests, I add a scripture for praying about the concern, then date it. I noticed as I sorted through my prayer notes, some had dates with a few words indicating progress. Still others the date when my prayer was answered, along with expressions of joy and gratitude.
What caught my interest was when I realized how the weight attached to those prayers had changed over time. Some of the prayers have yet to be answered and when initially written, the weight seemed overwhelming. Yet today, though the needs are still there and important to me, the heaviness has lessened. Somewhere along the way, frantic fear was replaced with peaceful acceptance of whatever was the end result. Along the journey of praying and trusting, God brought me to places of sweet release.
Many of those prayer notes had been written when much in my life seemed out of order and definitely out of my control. I was afraid for many things, and as a result, fear framed my prayers. I clearly remembered the level of my anxiety with many of them and how hard it was to keep pushing through.
“Pushing through” faith is what keeps us hopeful. It can also keep us safe from making bad decisions. Our years of walking with the Lord make us stronger and serves as reference points when we need them. We lean into the memories of other hard times we’ve had and how God’s grace got us through.
In reflecting on those prayer notes written several years ago, I know that no matter how grim something may seem at the time, help will come. The prayer may be answered just as I pray and even better than I pray. Or, I may still be praying for an answer years later. But this I know for sure: if I don’t get the answer I hope for, God will give me the strength and courage to manage what is. I know this because He has proven it to me over and over.
There is only one secure foundation: a genuine, deep relationship with Jesus Christ, which will carry you through any and all turmoil. No matter what storms are raging all around, you’ll stand firm if you stand on His love. –Dr. Charles Stanley, “In Touch Ministries”
(Pictures courtesy of morgueFile, under “prayer”)