Monday, May 4, 2015

The Assurance of Things Unseen


Years ago, before I was a believer, a friend and neighbor of mine introduced me to her friend Cindy.  We all had young daughters and would get together for playdates.  As Cindy and I got to know each other, she invited me to do a Bible Study with  her which ultimately led me to a saving knowledge of the Lord.

Cindy later shared that her friend and prayer partner, Ruth, had been praying over our meetings together, asking the Lord to open my eyes to His saving Grace.

The quiet work of the Holy Spirit was being accomplished through two dear sisters in the Lord; one through secret prayer and the other through tangible time spent in God's word together.

When I became a believer, my husband still was not.  I would excitedly come home and share with him those things I was learning in Bible study and what true Grace really meant.  My husband, a scientist, looked at everything in black and white when it came to talking about salvation in Christ Jesus.  It appeared it was going to be very difficult to help lead him to the Lord.

Cindy and Ruth diligently prayed together for my husband's salvation...  My husband received Christ as His Lord and Savior a year or so after I did!  And...  years later, went on to receive his M. Div at Bethel Seminary of the East!

I hope to offer encouragement to anyone who has been praying for months, years or even decades for a loved one's salvation to not lose heart.

The wind blows wherever it wants.  
Just as you can hear the wind but can't
 tell where it comes from  or where it is going, 
so you can't explain how people are born of the Spirit."  John 3:8

The Holy Spirit's work may not be perceivable in those He is regenerating, but He does indeed move through the prayers of the saints, according to His will in that persons life, in His perfect timing and for His Glory.

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A couple of years ago, I had a very serious matter for prayer; a request which appeared had already received an answer of "no" from the Lord.  The very thing I prayed would NOT happen did!  But in desperation, I continued to pray and ask for prayer.  I shared the situation with a dear sister-in-the Lord whose prayers I have always coveted.   I will never forget what she said to me.  She looked at me very confidently and assuredly said, "I believe the Lord is going to work in an unseen way to reverse this situation." I clung to those words...

Within the week, the situation had been reversed!!  Through a couple of very random unseen mishaps (which were revealed later) the Lord worked to stop what had already been in motion!  I cannot even express the incredible joy and gratitude I felt to the Lord for answering the prayer in such a profound way; how He used my friend to speak peace and Truth over me while I waited...

God used my perceived answer of "no" to a prayer for the purpose of increasing my faith in a mighty way.

I realize that not every matter for prayer is going to be reversed to what we want, if the outcome is not what we hoped for.  I have had many answers to prayer that were a definitive "no".  But in God's mercy, I was able to see years later why the answer was no for some of those prayers and was indeed thankful for the "no" because God's answer was above and beyond what I had prayed for in the first place!

When we pray, the Holy Spirit's activity in the matter may not be apparent sometimes.  But God is indeed working through every one of our prayers for His Glory and our good.

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I knew of a  young Christian married couple who had an unplanned pregnancy.  I know for me, even though my husband and I planned our pregnancies, when I found out I was pregnant for my first, there was that moment of, "Oh no, what have I done??  My whole life is going to change!"  I can't imagine what it was like for this young couple who were not planning on a baby to suddenly realize they were having a baby!   It was a tumultuous time filled with emotion as they adjusted to the reality that they were going to have a baby even though they were in a transitional time in their life.   But despite this, the couple thanked God for the new life growing inside...

As the months of the pregnancy went on, God brought so much redemption and joy to this little family.  It was clear that the Lord had planned great and wonderful blessings through the growing baby and his ultimate birth.

 My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret...
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there were none of them.
Psalm 139:15-16

The Holy Spirit accomplishes God's will and purposes for our lives, sometimes in very unexpected ways, to draw us closer to the Lord, increase our faith, strengthen us, encourage us, delight us and most especially to bring all Glory and Honor to God.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  
Romans 8:26-27


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It seems the hardest answers to wait upon are prayers for salvation of a loved one, and prayers for family, trials and matters of health.  Whether we are praying or not, it's hard to be in difficult situations no matter what they are.  We want results whether it be an answer to prayer or for the bad circumstance to end.  In our flesh, it's hard to see past it, past the clouds...

On an absolutely cloudy dreary day, sitting in a plane on a runway waiting to take off, it's hard to believe you will see the sun in just a few minutes.  The plane takes off, climbing higher and higher, breaking through the clouds.   And there it is!  The bright sun, where it has always been...

And so it is with the Son...  

God is always on His throne.  

For the eyes of the Lord go to and fro throughout the whole earth, 
to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward Him. 
 2 Chronicles 16:9

If you are in a circumstance where you feel like the Lord is silent, please be encouraged - silence does not equal inactivity of God or the absence of God.   God's Word promises us that:

For  I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
 plans for welfare and not for calamity
 to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11


It is the Lord that goes before you.  He will be with you; 
He will not leave you or forsake you. 
Do not fear or be dismayed.  
Deuteronomy 31:8

Be encouraged, just because the land is barren with no inhabitants {to be a witness}, does not mean that God has not sent the rain onto the parched land to make the tender grass shoot spring up...  Job 38:26-27

Do you remember a time in your own life when the Lord had revealed something to you that He had done in secret which increased your faith?  I'd love to hear about it.



36 comments:

  1. It's rough to go through seasons like this, but when you come through the other side, you do see how His hand was working when you didn't have a clue. He is always working in our behalf. He is for us, not against us.

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    1. Indeed!

      Thank you for stopping by Debbie. :-)

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  2. I am going through this with my mom right now. She believes in God, but seems unable to grasp the truth of His grace. She feels she must ask continually for His salvation, but does not really believe she is deserving, or that God will answer her prayers. So, the prayer is not really a prayer asked in faith. My heart breaks for her, as I know she is struggling so much. Prayers for her would be much appreciated!

    Blessings,
    Kamea

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    1. Kamea, It certainly is heartbreaking when a loved one is not able to find a way to grasp God's amazing Grace.

      I lifted your mom up in prayer that she would grasp how wide and deep and far is the love of Christ Jesus.

      I prayed for you too that the Lord would encourage you in some way concerning this matter of prayer that is so close to your heart.

      Thank you for visiting! :-)

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  3. Powerful prayer! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Beautiful post. I believe our prayers unlock the doors to work in our situations. We are encouraged to pray about everything.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. :-)

      Indeed we are.

      Thanks for visiting!

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  5. During a recent very traumatic time in my life when a beloved family member was struggling, a sister prayer warrior assured me she had a deep feeling during her prayer time that everything would work out. And it has--not exactly how I envisioned, but the situation continues to work out for good and God is restoring the time the locust have eaten.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your encouraging testimony of God working through prayer.

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  6. Such beautiful stories! The power of prayer is just that-powerful. Thank you for sharing your own story. Joining you from #TellHisStory

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. :-)

      And thank you for stopping by!

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  7. This was so very encouraging, Karen . . . I hold on to these words that you wrote-- "silence does not equal inactivity of God or the absence of God." This is so true--His silences are only means to draw us closer to Him through prayer, to humble ourselves before His sovereignty, to trust that He is good, and to hope in his mercy. Thank you for this powerful post . . .

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    1. Thank you Bekki for your kind words of encouragement.

      Indeed.

      Those are the times we need to remember that He loves us with an everlasting love.

      Thanks for visiting! :-)

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  8. I am ever so grateful that the Holy Spirit interprets our cries and moans because there are those times that we just hurt and have no words. God will always listen and always comfort. Thanks for this reminder. ♥

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    1. Indeed. Jesus promised that He would send a Comforter, the Holy Spirit. What mercies He bestows upon us.

      Thank you for visiting. :-)

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  9. I'm your neighbor at Word Filled Wednesday. I have seen the power of prayer work in so many ways as God has worked in my life, and in others as I have prayed for them and watched God answer those prayers and seen people accept Christ. Prayer is such a powerful thing. Keep on praying. He answers.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your testimony about prayer.

      Thank you for stopping by. :-)

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  10. Beautiful post! I am your neighbor over at Testimony Tuesday. Life really is full of all the different seasons, isn't it? But God is there in the midst of each season.

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    1. It certainly is! So thankful to have the Lord in my life and to see Him work through it. To have the comfort of my Ever Present Help.

      Thank you for stopping by!

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  11. Thank you so much for the encouragement to keep praying no matter what the circumstances. Prayer is powerful and I really appreciate it that you shared this with us at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

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    1. Thank you so much Terri! Praising God for His testimonies through answered prayer.

      Happy Mother's Day! :-)

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  12. This is such a beautiful reminder of the power of prayer! Thank you for sharing. I'm visiting from the Be Salty link up!

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    1. Kaylie, Thank you!

      I'm finding the more I conciously record and remember all that God has done for me in the past, the more I find peace in the midst of the storms.

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  13. It is so wonderful to see in hindsight the work of our Lord - but hard to wait for the answer. Great post. Following you from The Sunday Community.
    Blessings,
    Janis
    #SundayStillness

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    1. Janis, Thank you for your kind words.

      Yes, the waiting indeed is not easy. Remembering that God works all things for good must be our constant banner in those situations.

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  14. Oh, Karen! I just had to cry when I read your dear comments on my blog. Then to come here and read what God has laid upon your heart just really touched me so deeply. Your words are precious to me. I NEEDED to read this post. There is something we have been praying for SO hard, and it just feels like the Heavens are brass. But, you have encouraged me to continue to pray even though it seems God is not listening or working. I LOVE what you said about the unseen things and how He can reverse something that way. This...both your dear comments on my blog AND this post...has encouraged me and lifted me more than I could ever put into words. I can't thank you enough for stopping by.

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    1. Cheryl, Praising God for His encouragement to you.

      I love when He orders the "steps" of believers to be an encouragement to one another, at a time when we are not even aware that that will be the outcome! It reminds me of how important it is to always take the opportunity to be intentional, remembering that we could be the means in which God speaks to a person's heart's cry.

      Thank you for your heartfelt words to me. Praying that you will see God's activity in the situation you are lifting up to the Lord.

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  15. Beautiful and encouraging! Pinned! Thanks for sharing at Women With Intention Wednesday! I look forward to what you’ll share tomorrow!

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    1. Thank you so much for your very kind words. :-)

      You blessed me with your visit.

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  16. Beautiful and inspiring post.

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    1. Linda, thank you for your kind and encouraging words. Praising God for His inspiration.

      Thank you for visiting!

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  17. Such an encouragement and so inspiring. Thank you so much for linking this up with us at Grace & Truth!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. :-)

      And thank you for visiting!

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  18. God is so good! Thank you for the stories of encouragement and for all the beautiful scripture that accompanied them. It is wonderful to see how God works in so many of our lives!

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    1. Praising God for His word and His testimonies.

      Thank you for visiting! :-)

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Thank you for taking the time to comment.