By: Ginger Hughes
In recent months, I’ve been praying over something really important to me. It’s the kind of praying that at times feels more like wrestling, as I try so hard to determine God’s will in this area of life. It’s the kind of praying that brings tears as I struggle to understand, and the kind of praying where I often get on my knees, head bowed, entreating God to answer.
But thus far, I’ve heard no clear answer. So far, I’ve received no clear direction—at least not that I can fully recognize.
I’ve sat wondering more than once why God isn’t answering. I’ve wondered if He has answered, and I’m missing it somehow. I’ve sat beside the bed praying, “God, why can’t I hear you? How long, God, will I struggle with this—wanting to know your way, yet unable to determine your way? Do you hear me, God?”
I’ve prayed these prayers many times lately, and I’ve struggled with these thoughts. And it would be easy for doubts to creep in during this time—doubts of God’s presence and provision. It would be easy to doubt God’s willingness to answer our prayers.
This morning, as I was reading my Bible, I came to the 13th Psalm. Though I’m sure I’ve read it before, today it stopped me. Today, I read it twice. It was as if I could hear the cry of my heart echoed in the cry of the Psalmist in verses 1 and 2, “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?”
When God doesn’t answer our prayers in the way we wish He would and especially in the timeframe we wish He would, it’s easy to doubt. It’s easy to wander. It’s easy to complain. It’s easy to chart our own path rather than sit around waiting for His perfect one. It’s easy to grow frustrated and perhaps even stop praying.
But notice how the Psalm ends in verses 5 and 6, “BUT I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing of the Lord’s praise for He has been good to me.”
It might be easy to doubt, except for the fact that I can’t forget:
I can’t forget God’s unfailing love for me.
I can’t forget God’s faithfulness in the past.
I can’t forget the joy of my salvation.
I can’t forget God has been good—so very good to me.
It’s true God hasn’t answered this prayer yet, but He has answered so many prayers in the past. I can look back and see God’s hand in my life and see His goodness. And so I will trust. I will trust Him to answer me in His perfect time and His perfect way. And even now in this period of waiting, I fully believe that no struggle or pain is wasted with God. In His goodness and sovereignty, He’s allowing this season and as such, I know He will use it for my good and His glory.
Maybe you feel frustrated today. Perhaps you too are calling out, “God, do you hear me?” I hope you’ll take a moment to look back. Remember the ways God has been faithful in the past, and trust Him to be faithful in the future. Keep praying, keep seeking, keep asking.
But more importantly…start trusting.
-Ginger Hughes is the wife of a pastor, a mother of two and an accountant. She is a Georgia native currently living in the foothills of North Carolina. Her passion for writing is fueled by the desire to offer encouragement, grace and a deeper understanding that we are all God’s children. Her blogging for Nurturing Faith is sponsored by a gift from First Baptist Church of Gainesville, Ga. Additional writings may be found at nomamasperfect.com.