Click on the image to order your copy today!

A Trial of Waiting - Guest Post by Rebekah Neal

dried up dandelion covered in snow with snowfall around

Overcoming a Trial By the Lord’s Strength~~ a Trial of Waiting

For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness,
And streams in the desert
The parched ground shall become a pool,And the thirsty land springs of water;
In the habitation of jackals, where each lay,
There shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
Isaiah 35:6-7 NKJV

Nothing so clears the vision and lifts up the life, as a decision to
move forward in what you know to be entirely the will of God.
~John G. Paton

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-JiTQZERu_I0/WMDaS3lFwgI/AAAAAAAADjs/2OkGbceozkMu_vqwUDyiaFA_Vku0U76QACLcB/s640/hernhut1.jpg


Several years ago, our family moved from Rhode Island to Wisconsin,
obeying our Heavenly Father's leading and calling in our lives to begin
a ministry in the Midwest. We came with a minivan packed full to the
brim and I came with a very fearful heart, but also with a heart that
hoped in my God's precious promises. He went before us. And that first
year in the great "wilderness" of Wisconsin was one of the most difficult
years of my life, but I would not trade it and the lessons that the Lord

I missed my family and friends dearly. But I found in my loneliness
 I found rest in depending upon Him alone when there was no one
else to turn to. Truly, He gave me grace in the wilderness. 

My husband and I came out to the Midwest to begin a ministry--people
have asked why Wisconsin? Do we have family here? Was it work-related?
The very short answer is no. We moved to Wisconsin after years of
seeking the Lord and becoming convinced that this was where He wanted
us to be--that this was where He wanted us to begin the ministry that He
called us to. We moved here in a simple act of obedience to the Lord as
He enabled us by His grace--an act of obedience that I struggled with up
to the very end when the Lord strongly spoke to me through a Ravi
Zacharias sermon and through His Word. I said yes to the Lord through

Years before that, I had begun to pray--to pray for the Lord's direction and
guidance in my life in regards to this particular calling. I was around 18
years old when the Lord spoke to me--and I never imagined at that point how
much time would pass before He accomplished His purpose in this particular area. 

16 years of waiting ended in a beautiful and precious answer to prayer. 

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-T-HXv8ak6mo/WMDaj9hVhjI/AAAAAAAADjw/D9ooBYw_zgUOuWHZnv9i4qSQyBp5eK_9gCLcB/s640/hernhut3.jpg

My husband and I came to establish a place of rest in the Midwest--a place
where fellow believers can come and have a respite from the world as they
seek the Lord, a place for missionaries to stay, a place for pastors to come
apart for a time of refreshing, or for any Christian seeking rest and quietness.
It needed to be a peaceful place with enough room to house our brothers and sisters. 

When we arrived here, my heart was burdened with three main concerns. A
job for my husband that would provide for our family, a solid Gospel-driven
church, and a place--a home, where we could conduct this ministry.

The Lord mercifully provided a job for my husband in his field just before
we moved here and then recently opened up the door for a different job closer
to our home in response to our prayers for His provision. 

He opened up a place for us to worship Him-- a church that we have come to
love and where the Gospel is preached boldly. This was another precious
answer to prayer.  

And then came a great trial to my faith~~a trial of waiting upon the Lord when
everything seemed hopeless. 

My third concern-- for a place, a home; this prayer went unanswered. I struggled
when the time came for our lease to be renewed. We had been here for about a year,
living in a rental home that was not the most cost-efficient place to live. We were
traveling a good distance to church with two small children and my husband, after
the Lord opened up the second job here for him, was commuting about an
hour-and-a-half to work each way. 

I felt as though it would be "wiser" to move closer to our church and closer to my
husband's job. I prayed and struggled and sought the Lord, earnestly trying to explain
to Him why moving at that point would be best . . . 

I heard the Lord's silence. 

We looked at homes to rent in the area where we felt that we should possibly move.
We considered purchasing a smaller home, which would be more cost-effective
than renting, while we waited for the Lord to open the door for a home for our ministry. 

I felt hesitant, but we continued to explore options. 

The Lord kept stopping us--a house would already be rented or an offer had already
been made on a home that we were looking at. My husband and I began to think that
perhaps the Lord had a different plan in mind and that we were supposed to stay
where we were, at least for the time being--but we just could not understand why.
We looked at one final house, hoping that maybe the Lord would show us otherwise. 

That night, I read a passage in the devotional Streams in the Desert--


When the cloud remained . . . the Israelites . . . did not set out. (Numbers 9: 19)
This was the ultimate test of obedience. It was relatively easy to fold up their tents
when the fleecy cloud slowly gathered over the tabernacle and began to majestically
float ahead of the multitude of the Israelites. Change normally seems pleasant, and
the people were excited and interested in the route, the scenery, and the habitat of
the next stopping place.
Yet having to wait was another story altogether. “When the cloud remained,” however
uninviting and sweltering the location, however trying to flesh and blood, however
boring and wearisome to those who were impatient, however perilously close their
exposure to danger— there was no option but to remain encamped.
The psalmist said, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my
cry” (Ps. 40:1). And what God did for the Old Testament saints, He will do for
believers down through the ages, yet He will often keep us waiting. Must we wait
when we are face to face with a threatening enemy, surrounded by danger and fear,
or below an unstable rock? Would this not be the time to fold our tents and leave?
Have we not already suffered to the point of total collapse? Can we not exchange
the sweltering heat for “green pastures . . . [and] quiet waters” (Ps. 23: 2)?

When God sends no answer and “the cloud remain[ s],” we must wait. Yet we can
do so with the full assurance of God’s provision of manna, water from the rock,
shelter, and protection from our enemies. He never keeps us at our post without
assuring us of His presence or sending us daily supplies.

Young person, wait— do not be in such a hurry to make a change! Minister, stay at
your post! You must wait where you are until the cloud clearly begins to move. Wait
for the Lord to give you His good pleasure! He will not be late!

And so, against what I humanly deemed as "wise and prudent," I decided to wait upon
the Lord for His direction without actively seeking to move forward until I knew His
hand leading; my husband and I committed to this course of seeming "inaction,"
renewed our lease, and decided to wait again upon the Lord in prayer. 

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-5UD5zhfCMzY/WMDeMrL1g6I/AAAAAAAADkI/91Ky6jh2vQ0xC9clcanreJxgUkREVh3kQCLcB/s640/cardinal-1884283_960_720.jpg

And interestingly, someone very close to me kept reminding me not to limit the
Lord--I honestly was very doubtful that the Lord was going to open the door at
that point for a home for us that would be the place for our ministry-there seemed
to be too many obstacles and I just didn't see humanly how it could be done . . .
But  this person kept telling me to wait patiently--that I and my husband never knew
what the Lord would do and at the same time the Lord continually kept reassuring me
through His Word that He was ready to act in His perfect way.

The housing market remained grim. I worried and wondered and fretted and then
returned to trusting in the Lord as we waited. Nothing came on the market that
was suitable. 

Finally, as the time drew closer to when we would need to make a decision about
whether or not to renew our lease again (the 6-month period that we had leased our
rental house for was drawing closer to its end again), I believed that the Lord was
telling me to seek Him more deliberately in prayer, and I set aside a period of time
to do this. During that time, still nothing still came on the market. Yet I waited,
believing that His hand had led me to wait upon Him earnestly in prayer and so I did . . . 

Right at the end of this time of prayer and seeking the Lord, a house came on the
market. I can only attribute what happened next as a miracle from the Lord's hand in
direct answer to prayer. The house exactly fit what we were looking for for our ministry.
It was set on almost four acres in a peaceful setting. Its outbuildings and layout would
perfectly accommodate what we have been called to do.  And in the Lord's perfect mercy,
the style of the home is one that I love--an old-fashioned 1890s house that reminds me
of my beloved New England. Tears of joy come to me even now as I write this, and
now that we realize that the Lord has given us this place for this time, for His purposes
I can only say

I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.
He has put a new song in my mouth—
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the Lord.

Psalm 40:1-3 NKJV

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-2rdINEWSacI/WMDa18fKlGI/AAAAAAAADkA/pvfAVFF6FncQkSK5Zljcg8U7MU3URv2EgCEw/s640/hernhit4.jpg

Furthermore, to add to the Lord's merciful hand in all of these things, the home
is located within a much easier commute to my husband's job and close to our church.
It is in a very rural setting, and yet easily accessible for people to find--I was concerned
that we would be "out in the boondocks," in order to find something suitable, but the
opposite is the case--we are in a rural setting, located near a state park, but also in a place
that is easy to find and access, which would be helpful for the kind of ministry that the
Lord called us to. It is actually as though this home was made for what the Lord spoke to
us about--more than 100 years ago, no less! The Lord never ceases to amaze me and to
challenge my "finite" thinking with His infinite plans.

There were times when I doubted the Lord. There were times when I truly questioned my
own sanity--when I questioned whether the Lord had really spoken to us. We had
relocated halfway across the United States; some people literally thought that we
were crazy, or at best, misled. But I held on to the certainty that the Lord had spoken
to us and that He would fulfill His purpose, and He has. At the same time, the Lord
held on to me and helped me and strengthened me in my times of discouragement.
And He showed me His goodness in a wonderful and miraculous way. He gave us our
home for His ministry. The trial of waiting ended in His merciful answer to prayer.

Looking back now and writing this, I see that if we had done what seemed "wise" at
the time, if we had trusted in our own understanding and ignored the Lord's gentle
voice leading us to wait, we would have been locked into another lease or have
purchased a home just before the Lord was ready to act and not have been able to
move forward into the ministry that He called us to. I have learned through this
experience once again, as I have in the past, that it is always better to wait upon
the Lord when there is doubt. It is always better to trust in His wisdom, even if it
seemingly contradicts the best of human wisdom. His plan may seem like it doesn't
make sense, but He is preparing His best for us if we will wait upon Him and receive it. 

And so I praise Him for answered prayer—the answered prayer of 16 years, the
prayer that I prayed in a little bedroom in Rhode Island as a teenager—and I praise Him
for the trial of waiting which led to His answer. And I pray that He would continue to
pour out His grace in my life and make me into a willing vessel to accomplish His
purposes. I pray that He will use this place of rest for His glory. And I pray especially
that this testimony would strengthen other believers who are in a "waiting" place to hope
in the Lord and trust utterly in Him. He is good to those who wait for Him. And they
will not be ashamed. 


Rebekah Neal is a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, the wife of her dear husband, Bill, and the mother of two cherished little ones, Deborah and Elisha. Her desire is to know and love the Lord more profoundly and to grow deeper into His ways. Rebekah loves the woods and their rambling paths, her family, working with her hands, singing, reading missionary biographies, gardening, and the smell of wood smoke on a cold autumn night. One of her first loves is writing prose and poetry about the workings of her Heavenly Father in the greatest and smallest details of life. Get to know Rebekah better at her blog, Ready To Be Offered


Bekki is a very dear friend, and I am so happy that she shared her amazing testimony of prayer, perseverance, steadfastness in following the Lord - even when it came with great sacrifice, AND the ultimate abundant blessings she and her family received as a result of their obedience in waiting upon the Lord.  Thank you Bekki for sharing your story here at Growing Together in Grace and Knowledge.  😊  

You might find me on these link-ups:

Grace & TruthWoman to Woman Ministries, Inspire Me MondayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Good Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog Hop  Tuesday Talk   Faith 'N Friends Sitting Among Friends   House to Home  ,Wonderful Wednesday , Literacy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceDance with Jesus Booknificent Thursdays  Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays , Tea & Word Tuesday Heart Encouragement Thursday Hearts for Home Messy Marriage Link-up Friday at the Fire Station Link-up Tune In Thursday Faith on Fire Link-upSunday Scripture Blessings Link-up, Sunday ThoughtsWriter Wednesday, Faith Filled Friday God Sized Dreams Link-Up Sitting Among Friends Be Thee Inspired Graceful Tuesday Link-up Aprons & Pearls Link-up Trekkingthru Link-up  Encouraging Word Wednesday  Grace Moments Link-up  Encouraging Hearts and Home Worth Beyond Rubies Seeking Sabbath Scripture and a Snapshot IHeart Verse Welcome Heart Kingdom Bloggers Outdoorsy Mommy Anchored Truth Tuesdays IHeart Verse InstaEncouragements

Comments

  1. The waiting room is never a pleasant place - so much uncertainty and feeling like we aren't accomplishing anything is not a position we like to remain in for very long. If only we could see what God is doing when it seems like He is silent and inactive! If we endure and stay where He places us, however uncomfortable we may be, we look back later from the Shepherd's point of view and see that His way was best all along. Thank you for telling your story, Rebekkah, and thank you, Karen, for sharing it here! God bless both of you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cheryl! Welp, let me try this again. I had responded to your comment and I see now it's gone.

      Indeed, the waiting room is never a pleasant place. I am finding that I actually like the whole "waiting in the car" Covid protocol at doctor's offices. lol I have a lot less anxiety that way.

      I so appreciate your insightful comments. They always add so much to the post.

      You are very welcome! Sending you much love,

      Delete
  2. I saw your link on the Inspire Me Monday link-up. This is such a beautiful message. So much of our lives are spent waiting, yet we can fill that waiting space with faith and purpose. It's beautiful to see the hand of God when our waiting finally ends. Thank you for sharing this experience and continued blessings in your ministry!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed! Bekki's story is a beautiful inspiration of the blessings we receive when we wait on God and His perfect timing.

      I'm so glad you stopped by! :-)

      Delete
  3. What an exciting journey and a wonderfully needed ministry.

    I spent my mid school and high years in Wisconsin. My family moved there from Ohio when I was in the 7th grade. Always thought it is the most beautiful place. Then I married a Georgia boy! Though we did ministed in MIlwaukee subarb for 6 years. God bless your ministry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mandy, Thank you so much for sharing your midwest story!

      Yes, the pictures of Bekki's homestead and surrounding area looks so peaceful and country.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. :-)

      Delete
  4. Exactly what I need to hear right now thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Praise God! Thanks for sharing that and thanks for stopping by. :-)

      Delete

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment.

Popular Posts