This past January I chose to fast—give up food for a spiritual purpose. I met with God daily to specifically pray for my mom. You see, for the last twenty years, my mom has struggled with debilitating migraines. She experiences them on a weekly basis which keeps her from being able to work. I’ve witnessed firsthand the toll her chronic pain has taken on her emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I have prayed that God would heal her a thousand times. During the fast, I was convinced that He would finally perform a miracle and heal my mom.
Many of you also journeyed through Brentwood’s corporate fast in the month of January. You met with God daily. Your time with Him immersed in expectation of the prayers he would answer, the miracles he would perform, and the wonder he would reveal to you.
You waited for God to work miraculously in your situation. While you waited, you saw the work He did on behalf of others. Maybe, like me, you wrestled with it. Maybe you were praying for the miraculous healing of a loved one and saw someone else healed. Maybe you were praying for a breakthrough with your job and saw someone else promoted. Maybe you were praying for a faith that could move mountains but feel even more discouraged after seeing it come to fruition in someone else’s life.
The disappointment is devastating. You were believing in faith that God would surely move on your behalf in this specific area of your life and it remains unchanged. For many of you, God is silent and absent in your most desperate situation. Why wouldn’t He answer your prayer for healing, breakthrough or rescue? How can you move forward when you feel hopeless?
The answer is trust. We must trust in the character of God and the promises He has given us. We must remember how he acted on our behalf in the past. We must let the evidence of His work in other’s lives spur us on to hope that He is working in our own situation even though we cannot see it.
We must let the evidence of His work in other’s lives spur us on to hope that He is working in our own situation even though we cannot see it.
I am reminded of a story we find in Daniel 3. King Nebuchadnezzar creates an enormous statue made of gold and commands everyone in the land to worship it. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refuse to worship the idol. So soldiers bring them before King Nebuchadnezzar who threatens to throw them into a fiery furnace if they do not comply with his demands. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego reply to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18)
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s response to the king is astounding. In their most desperate, life-threatening situation, they refused to acknowledge the king as an authority in their lives. They would not answer to anyone but God. They stood assured that the one who could save them would bring deliverance from the agony of being burned alive. But even if He did not, they resolved to serve Him.
What a beautiful picture of trust. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew the character of God. They had seen Him act on their behalf before. They even had heard the stories of how He worked in their ancestor’s lives in the past. This allowed them to rest in His sovereignty while they stared down their own deaths.
As always, God showed up. He rescued them but not in the way they probably expected. He still allowed them to be thrown into the fiery furnace but instead of being consumed by the fire they were untouched. Because of this miracle, the king praised God and gave favor to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Sometimes God does the same for us. He doesn’t answer prayers in the way we expect Him too. He still allows us to face hard and impossible situations but He does not allow us to walk through them alone. These situations change us, grow our faith, and solidify our trust in the Creator. They also give Him glory.
So what can you and I do in the waiting?
We can let our desperation bring us to our knees and keep us there. Even though it hurts, we can keep praying. We can fix our eyes on Jesus despite our situations. We can choose to praise Him for the things He has worked out in our past. We must refuse to give up hope. God is working on our behalf. Even if we cannot see it. He will prove himself to be a personal, caring, and compassionate God every time.