5,993 Days: When I Am Waiting for God to Answer My Prayer
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Summer is here, and for me, this is a looooooong-awaited season.
FINALLY! Will and I kicked off the summer with two of the most important words we'll ever say to one another: "I do!"
I've dreamed of this day for as long as I can remember. I started praying for this man when I was fifteen years old. Every night (and sometimes in the mornings too) I would pray for him -long before I knew him. I knew God knew him so that was enough for me. I'd ask for different things on different days - for God to give him strength, to surround him with good friends, to give him uncontrollable laughter that day, comfort in whatever he might be facing, purpose and direction for his life, but more than these a deep and abiding love for Him and His Word.
I started praying for him intentionally after attending a wedding of one of my youth group leaders. It was a few days after Christmas, so I was fifteen and a half. I'll be 32 later this summer, so that means I've prayed for this man and this day when God would bring us together for 5,993 days.
Had I known the wait would be this long, I don't know if I would have started. (P.S. I think the not knowing is God's grace for us.) I've learned sometimes the only payment for God's promises is patience.
God is always working. Remember this as you wait. Had God answered my prayer earlier, our hearts would not have been aligned. I also doubt I'd be living out this purpose God had for me as a writer. God is the God of order. Be patient and steadfast in your prayers. He might answer it that day, or it might be 5,993 days later or 10,000 days later, maybe 30,000 days later. Though I thought all these prayers were for the man God would bring into my life as my husband, truth is the prayers changed me. It is through prayer God aligned my heart's desires with what He had for me. It's not that I had any special words; it's simply that I became dependent on God and surrendered my plan and my timeframe to Him.
Wherever this post finds you — in whatever way you’re hoping to experience beauty — take a word from the chapter in the book I’m living: “Amen.” Pray and pray and then pray some more. Talk to God about it. Every day. Regardless of how you’re feeling or what you’re seeing, bring it all to God. Because…
Them prayers, they work.
Here’s why: Prayer refines us and allows our desires to be properly reordered. Through our personal conversations with God, He leads us to what He has prepared for us. Because FAITHFUL is not what He does but who He is!
And, I know this so certainly: God wants to be close to you. Draw near to Him in prayer today and ask Him to help you continue to draw near in the days ahead. It's not about saying fancy words. Just talk to Him as you would a friend. If you open your mouth and don't know what to do next, consider saying, "Hi." I've found this is a great place to start.
Not only is it wedding time (aka answered prayer celebration time), it's time to be refreshed in the Psalms! Last Summer, we dove into a Psalm a day and each week we gathered together for a reflection. We called it Summer in the Psalms, and because it was so fun but more importantly so meaningful and refreshing for our souls, we're picking up where we left off - Psalm 90.
There was a man who lived a long, long time ago, who also waited a long, long time for a promise from God. His name was Moses. God used Moses to lead His people to the land God had prepared for them.
One of Moses' prayers is recorded as the ninetieth Psalm. As a man who was intimately familiar with waiting on the Lord, he prayed about the everlasting magnitude of God and the brevity of life on earth for man. In his opening words, we also see how he was able to wait so long because of where he chose to dwell:
Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. - Psalm 90:1
I imagine when Moses became weary in the waiting, he'd remind himself to be patient by seeking a higher perspective. Often, he'd literally seek a higher perspective by going up a mountain. But altitude is not a requirement for this. A higher perspective is just a question away: "What does this look like to God?" The answer:
A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. - Psalm 90:4
In other words, though this feels like "an eternity" to me, God is above time and my role in His bigger story may be a small fraction of a day.
To put this into perspective - not too long ago I read a statistic stating if all of history up to this point were condensed to twenty-four hours, the average human life would equate to just shy of thirteen minutes.
Thirteen minutes! That's about as long as it takes me to get from my house to Chick-Fil-A, not counting my wait time there or my drive time back. My life - from my first cry to my last breath - would equate to an unfulfilled Chick-Fil-A run. If that's not humbling, I don't know what is.
And to think, I spend at least half of that time sleeping, conviction of how much time I spend on trivial things falls on me like a heavy cloud. Just this morning in a conversation with my sister, her wisdom spoke to this very thing: "Just try to have a higher perspective, not so focused on the trivial things of life..."
There's a reason she is one of my go-to people for support. She doesn't beat around the bush, she points me back to hard-won truth.
Thinking about this more, I knew she was right. Rather than ruminating on what this difficult situation looked like from my viewpoint, I needed to climb like Moses. "What does this look like to God?" became my focus and I began to settle into the peace God had for me in this.
Ruminating is such a human behavior. We do it so much we don't even recognize it. We'd rather call it "venting" but really we're just ruminating and hoping others will agree with us so we can justify our position and our own rightness.
So, how do we combat this ruminating inclination? How do we become wise and not get so exhausted and worn out from our circumstances? I'm learning it's as Moses prayed:
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. - Psalm 90:12
Numbering our days may sound morbid, but I believe it's the secret to being most present in our lives.
Let's try it. Obviously, we don't know when we will pass but we do know we will pass. This body is temporary. For this, let's say we live 'til we're 100 years old. That's 36,500 days. Now, take your current age and multiply it by 365. Then, subtract that from 36,500. Since I'll be 32 this summer, I'm rounding up and it would give me 24,820 days left.
You know how I want to spend each one of those? Just like Moses prayed:
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. - Psalm 90:14
I want to rise and be filled with heaven's daily bread, so fully satisfied in God's love for me that I'm so focused on singing for joy and gladness for God's faithfulness that I don't have any time to be distracted by less important things. His love is my identity and my hope. Securely rooted in this changes how I live and how I respond to others - with an overflow of love and hope.
Moses was a great man of God. But, he was still just a man. His life would not have equated to an unfulfilled CFA run because the Lord's chicken just wasn't around yet. We know God wasn't dropping nuggets as manna because the Israelites complained. Complaining of "too much CFA" just ain't a thing. My point is this: Moses never got to actually go into the promised land, but God did allow Moses to see it. His life here, like our's, was brief. But, brief does not mean insignificant. Because when God is with us and His favor is on us, the work of our hands will be established. Moses prayed it this way:
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands. - Psalm 90:17
This means our lives, as vaporous as they are in the grand scheme of things, have immense purpose. How do we ensure we focus on what matters most? I think it starts with prayer. Here's one I've been praying:
Lord, help me to love You more tonight than I do this morning. Help me to love You more tomorrow than I do tonight. To love You more, I pray You help me to see You more and hear You more. Make me more aware of Your presence today.
Now, It's Your Turn!
Before opening God's Word, take a moment to pray and ask God to meet you there. Then...
Read Psalm 90 a couple times. Highlight what stands out to you.
Circle verbs or specific wording you notice.
Then, write down a bullet point takeaway based on this. "I-statements" help make this personal. Think of this as a challenge statement.
I can talk to God like I talk to a friend. As I wait on the Lord, I will remain steadfast in prayer and allow the Holy Spirit to align my heart's desires to what God has for me.
Then, jot down a question or two to think about today. You don't have to have the answer to this question now. And yield to the Holy Spirit - prayerfully ask God to search your heart and lead you to more truth and grow your faith through the Holy Spirit.
How many days do I have left if I live to be 100 years old? How does this change how I live today? How can I seek a higher perspective and apply this question to the difficult situation in my path today: "What does this look like to God?"
Again, we don't have to be Bible scholars and talk only in the thou's and art's of King James version to read this book. ...because when we pray before we read, we are not alone. The Holy Spirit is with us, guiding and teaching us.
Praise God for this!
And praise God for refreshment as we are intentional to spend a summer in the Psalms together, for if we want His truth to ever be on our lips, it must first be planted in our hearts.
Our strength grows as we rely on strength from above. Our joy grows as we see God transforming us from the inside out. Our peace grows as we spend time in God's presence, and we find rest when we intentionally seek the Lord first in our lives, for the Lord is ever our portion.
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
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