Glancing to the side as I rode in the car, I suddenly, and without warning, asked my husband to hit the brakes. I nearly jumped out of the car as it was slowing to a stop. Across two lanes of traffic, I ran with hair still wet from the my shower. I hesitated for only a moment, wondering, What if it isn’t her? What if she doesn’t want to be found? But I went anyway, frantically running towards my friend. It had been weeks since I last saw her. Weeks had passed since she stopped responding to my text messages and calls. Weeks since her relapse back into the stronghold of addiction, and a life wandering the streets. We met as she rounded the street corner, and my heart sank. It was not my friend at all.
“I’m sorry,” I said, standing face to face with this stranger. “I thought you were someone else.”
“I hope she is pretty,” she replied with a smile. Dejected, I carried myself back into the car, and we continued down the road in silence. Not knowing of her whereabouts or well-being, continued to tug at my heart. I prayed fervently for my friend, hoping beyond hope that God would rescue her from this life of addiction.
As my husband drove, I pondered how I had spent my whole life viewing God. I perceived God as having His arms folded in contempt and disapproval, and His back turned away from me. This perception was because of my mistakes and not measuring up. The distorted view dominated my thinking until the moment of my greatest failure. A moment of irresponsibility, and an ill-fated decision, landed me in prison for six years. What a gift that experience became, even if I never asked for it. I found myself at rock bottom, learning that sometimes it is the place where the Father best reveals Himself to me. Just like I learned when I ran out of the car to find my friend, God had been running towards me my whole life.
There are a few things I want you to know about the girl from the streets who had also hit rock bottom. Today, by the grace of God, that girl is sober and pregnant with a son. She has her first job, and is rebuilding the fractured relationships with her family. My friend is in the process of working towards healing from her past and seeking wholeness. And I am pleased to report, she is smiling a lot. I honestly didn’t know if I would ever see the day. There were more times than I could count when I feared she would never achieve sobriety. Worse yet, I was certain I would be attending her funeral at some point. God's redemption is often beyond my comprehension.
There are many times throughout my own life when I have prayed without receiving a response. In those moments I nearly lost hope of ever seeing God's answer come to fruition. During those seasons, it's easy for me to get discouraged; to believe that God is not listening; certain God is somehow indifferent to my concerns. I am also certain those moments can be an opportunity to ground myself in the truth that God DOES hear my prayers; that I must trust Him.... trust His timing at a deeper level than my mind can actually comprehend.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT:
Are there prayers you have uttered over and over? Have you have stopped praying because they seem to have gone unanswered? Maybe it appears some hopes and dreams have died, and you have tried your best to move on.
Take note: God does not forget!
When it seems that God is doing nothing....when it seems that He is indifferent to your cries.... God is not unavailable. He hears your prayers. Keep dreaming your dreams and praying your prayers. Over and over again we are told in scripture that God hears our pleas. Psalm 34:17 (NIV) "The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles."
God hears. He remembers. The Lord runs towards you, and nothing you could ever do will make Him stop pursuing you. Turn around! Face the One who is always on your side!
Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness and for being ever attentive to my prayers and cries. Remind me that I can trust in Your timing and care of the situations and people in my life. Thank You for the Holy Spirit that intercedes on my behalf when I can't find the words to pray. Amen
(Inspired by Rom 8:26 NIV)
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