When my oldest daughter was eight days old–on my birthday, as it happens– I went to check on her while she was napping only to find that she was barely breathing. She had been congested for a few days, but I was young and a new mother and everyone I asked about it assured me that she was fine. As I watched her struggle to breathe and slowly begin to turn blue, I knew that this was not fine!
Immediately my parents, husband and I loaded her up and rushed to the Emergency room of the very small local hospital. The overly-calm receptionist took our information and then told us to have a seat. We had to wait our turn. We waited and waited as I came closer and closer to hysteria. I repeatedly asked the receptionist when my poor baby girl was going to be seen, only to be told to return to my seat, and wait.
At this point in my life, I was not only in God’s waiting room, I was in a literal waiting room! I was young and had no idea what to do or where to turn. I had no idea what was wrong with my baby, how serious it was, or how I could possibly help her.
When we are in various trying situations in our lives–and we all are at one point in time or another–there is only one thing that we can do, and that’s follow the example of Jesus and pray. And pray. And pray and pray and pray (Matthew 26:36-44). It cannot, however, be just something we do here and there or something that we do in any way we please. There are certain attitudes that God wants us to approach Him with.
Have you ever had your young child come up to you, just stand there and hold an empty glass out to you? It happens to me with my 4-year-old all the time and it drives me nuts! It also drives her nuts though, because I simply stand there and look at her. Do I know what she needs? Absolutely. But has she asked? Nope. I will gladly do anything for her that she needs, but I also demand enough respect from her that she asks me politely for whatever she needs. As soon as she says, “Mommy, can I please may have some more to drink?” (her grammar is a little lacking, but it’s too cute to correct) she gets exactly what she wants.
God is the same way with us (Matthew 7:7-11). He knows exactly what we want, and more importantly He knows exactly what we need, but God will not answer the unspoken prayer any more than I will answer my child’s silent request for more to drink.
Not only do we need to ask God to meet our needs, we need to be HONEST with our requests. One thing I have really learned lately is to be honest with God about how I feel about my struggles. I think sometimes we have it in our head that we have to be emotionally perfect to be a Christian. We cannot struggle with doubt or fear, we can’t be angry and we certainly can’t be angry at God. Guess what? All of these emotions are emotions that God gave us! We must keep them under control, but God understands that we have them! Also, He knows our hearts. He knows if we are angry at Him whether we actually say it or not.
If you notice, Job voiced a lot of these emotions to God. Job 23-24 shows us a deeply pained and agonized Job. A Job who loves his Lord, who trusts his Lord, who wants to do the right thing, and is REALLY struggling to see that what he knows is true. He pours his heart out to God; he pours out all of his pain, his doubt, and his fear. And God hears him and answers. Not in anger, but with a reminder of exactly who and what He is, which gave Job the strength to go on.
Sisters, we have to be honest with ourselves and honest with God about how we are feeling before He can begin to bring us healing and hope. Just as a counseling session with a human counselor will not help us if we are not completely open and honest, we need to be open and honest when we go before the Great Physician.
When my daughter was so deathly sick, after what I still deem to be WAY too long, FINALLY our name was called and it was our turn to see the doctor. Our wait was not immediately over, though. We had to wait through all of the doctor’s questions. We had to wait through tests. We had to wait for the results of the tests. We had to wait for a room. We had to wait to see if the treatments worked. Ultimately, we went through three weeks and two hospitals worth of waiting before we were able to take our precious, healthy baby girl home.
Sometimes our prayers to God are the same way. Sometimes we feel like we wait and wait, and the answer will never come! This can be the most discouraging time in our “waiting game.” But sisters, we must persevere! This is EXACTLY the way the widow in Luke 18 must have felt. In Luke 18:1-8 Jesus tells a beautiful parable of the persistent widow. This woman repeatedly went to a judge asking for justice, and was repeatedly ignored, but she kept right on asking! Eventually, BECAUSE she kept asking, the judge gave her exactly what she wanted! Jesus Himself says in verse 1 that the entire purpose of this parable is so that we would, “always pray and not lose heart.”
Jesus, God in the flesh, knew that when we are waiting on the Lord, especially with things that seriously affect our lives, it will be discouraging. There will be times that we feel we aren’t being heard, or that God will never answer. But He also knew that those are the times it’s most important to keep on asking!
Sisters, God loves us. God hears us. God knows our hearts, our fears, and our struggles, but He also sees the big picture! I know that we can all look back on times in our lives where we were struggling, trying to figure out which way to go, trying to simply survive a horrible situation with our faith intact, and we can now see how the Lord worked in that situation. As we continue to encounter situations in our lives where we find ourselves “waiting on the Lord,” let us not lose heart. There will be times that it seems as though the wait will never end, but let us persevere. Let us lay our struggles and our emotions at HIS feet, and TRULY turn our struggles over to the Lord in prayer.
by Lacy Crowell
Lacy and her husband Jonathan are both graduates of the Bear Valley Bible Institute. They currently live in Coweta, Oklahoma, where Jonathan serves as an area evangelist, working with and strengthening area congregations. Lacy enjoys writing and speaking for ladies’ days. She spends her days at home caring for her husband and her three daughters and 1-year-old son.