Because You Prayed

by Tammy Whitehurst

Hi There! Yes, I am talking to you. (Looking at you eyeball to eyeball.)

It’s not the time to slack off, be lazy, or wait till things get better. When those feet hit the ground this morning begin by doing something powerful. PRAY.

Make sure your eyes are alert and your ears listen close. Why? Because the enemy is waiting to attack.

Keep in mind he will put things in your way. Frustrate you. Use the people you love to upset you. You will be distracted. Perhaps cut off in traffic. Or hear a cutting remark by a co-worker aimed at you. A flat tire.

He will tempt. No one is exempt.

He is very good at serving up a sizzling plate of aggravation. However, He has no idea who he is messing with. He picked the wrong gal on the wrong day. The Creator is lighting your path and leading the way. The darkness has no power over you.

Not today. No way. Because YOU PRAYED.

In God’s Word He tells us in Philippians 4:6 not to worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. It’s an incredible weapon.

Grin ear to ear. Boldly declare you live your life to glorify God. Lift that chin up. Pull those shoulders back. This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.

No matter what.

Today, we are unstoppable because GREATER is He that is in us than he that is in the world. Let’s Roll!

 . . .A prayer of a righteous person, when it is brought about, can accomplish much. James 5:16 NIV

About the author: As an author, blogger, and full time speaker, Tammy Whitehurst encourages and challenges audiences to live life kicked up a notch. She is the co-owner of the Christian Communicators Conference. She struggles like the rest of us with dust, dog hair, cellulite, junk drawers, and wrinkles.

Join the conversation: What do you pray when you first wake up in the morning?

Mann Tracht, und Gott Lacht

by Terri Gillespie

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Proverbs 27:1 TLV

“What a difference a day makes.” So the saying goes. Our future may appear one way as we lay down to sleep and completely change when we open our eyes.

I remember waking up one morning to the call that my younger sister had suddenly died. The day before she had left a voice message for me. One I had yet to listen to. Four years later, I still listen to that message I saved.

Our eternity is guaranteed, but our expectations in this life … probably not. Being ten years older than my sister, I had expected to go on to eternity before her. That didn’t happen. As much as we try to control our lives, ultimately, we are not the lords of our season on this earth. We are the stewards of what is given to us.

Does that mean we shouldn’t make plans? Of course not. Most of us have a multitude of responsibilities. Plans help us with the dental appointments, deadlines, job interviews, kids’ clarinet lessons, grocery lists, and so forth.

What we need to remember is to hold those plans lightly. The dentist may call and reschedule. One of the kids get sick, so forget making it to that job interview. Well, you get the idea.

There’s an old Yiddish adage: “Mann tracht, und Gott lacht.” Which means: “Man Plans, and God Laughs.”

So, when our plans inevitably go awry, we need to set our heart and mind to trust that our Heavenly Father has the real plan. Our best plan is to pray and praise through our disappointments and fears as best we can (and I’m talking to ME, especially), then take the next step in front of us.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” James 4:13-15 TLV

Perhaps we should incorporate more “Lord willings” into how we plan and how we communicate with others. And remembering as well, that our Father holds our life and the number of the days until we’re with Him. As in He can’t wait until we’re home.

“So teach us to number our days, so that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12 TLV). Indeed, ultimately, we all want His will in all we do.

And that’s the best plan of all. May we trust in GOD’s will and His plans for us, my friends.

About the author: Award-winning author and speaker, Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, messages, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus. Her newest novel, Sweet Rivalry, releases later this year. http://www.authorterrigillespie.com.

The third and final book in the Hair Mavens series, Really Bad Hair Day, is a whirlwind of changes for the mavens—marriage, love, danger, loss, and redemption. The Hair Mavens: modern-day Ruth and Naomi stories set in a hair salon.

Join the conversation: When has God changed your plans?

Read It and Heed It

by Shirley Brosius

For years, I taught shorthand students to write as fast as a person talks—60, 90, 120 or even more words per minute. With handwriting, we write only 30-some words per minute. I trained students to “take dictation” from executives.

Schools no longer offer shorthand, so I asked a friend what executives do without that support. She said they write their own letters and give them to assistants to “clean up.”

Anyway, to the untrained eye, the shorthand scribbles on a page don’t make sense. And sometimes they don’t make sense to the writer either. You must be able to read what you write so that you can “transcribe,” type onto paper, what you’ve written. If you can’t read your writing, taking shorthand notes is useless.

It’s a reminder to me that reading the Bible is also useless, unless we do what it says. What good is it to read about prayer, if we fail to pray? What good is it to read about honesty, if we fail to report all our income at tax time? What good is it to read about generosity, if we fail to graciously give to others what we can? We need to read it and heed it.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV). Notice “all Scripture” is profitable. That includes both Old and New Testaments. We learn much about the character of God in both. And we also learn the consequences of staying true to God’s principles from biblical saints.

Some like Daniel have stood strong. Even when forbidden to pray to anyone other than King Darius, Daniel continued to pray to God—by his window. Because he refused to honor the edict of the king, he was thrown into the lion’s den. However, Daniel trusted God, and God rescued Daniel.

Others like Ananias and Sapphira went astray. They claimed to give the apostles all the money from the sale of a field, when in truth they held back some for themselves. The couple died because of their lie.

At times we may identify with the prophet Jonah who ran from God. Scripture rebukes us, and, like Jonah, helps us get back on track.

I like the way THE MESSAGE puts 2 Timothy 3:16: “The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God . . .  It straightens us out and helps us do what is right.”

The Old Testament points to a Messiah, and the New Testament identifies that Messiah as Jesus. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount teaches us how to live in harmony with others. Read it and heed it.

Now just as shorthand students had to be able to translate their notes, we must be able to understand Scripture. So listen to sermons. Attend Bible studies. Talk to a Christian friend. Consult helps such as Bible dictionaries or commentaries. Sure, it can be challenging, but God offers ways, especially in our age of online resources, for us to find insight on difficult passages.

I once mentioned to a grandson that I had taught shorthand and was surprised when he asked, “Nana, what is shorthand?” As I listen to game shows that include Bible questions, I realize some people could ask “What is Scripture?” May it not be us. May we read it and heed it.

The Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 NASB

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Shirley Brosius is a writer from Millersburg, PA. She loves to read, write, watch the flowers grow, and keep up with five young adult grandchildren. She is the author of Sisterhood of Faith and coauthor of Turning Guilt Trips into Joy Rides. Website: shirleybrosius.com and friendsoftheheart.us.

Join the conversation: With what Bible character do you most resonate?

Beholding Wonders

by Patti Richter

Our daughter hoped to have a car at college in her sophomore year. But a 1300-mile trip from Texas to California in the August heat seemed risky. Instead, my husband and I decided she should fly back to school, and we would drive the car to her when the temperatures moderated.

This delivery plan could serve as both a vacation and a visit to our daughter. I looked forward to the long road trip since we had never travelled in that direction. Scenic vistas—more wonderful than I imagined—lay ahead.

When fall arrived, we left early one morning for our journey across the deserts of the Southwest. By evening we were halfway to California but still in Texas! The sheer expanse of our state’s mostly uninhabited western region struck me as incredible. As a child I had been afraid that the earth would run out of places to bury its dead. Seeing this vast open space reminded me, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” (Psalm 24:1 ESV). The emptiness thereof, too!

The next day we realized that far West Texas runs along New Mexico’s southern border, so we had entered this state at its center. The Organ Mountains greeted us that morning with their needle-like peaks that resemble organ pipes. These mountains were not so far behind us when we crossed into southern Arizona—before lunchtime! Such progress amazed me after the previous day spent trudging through just one region of Texas.

Dry desert air yielded an undiluted sky. The azure blue color stood in brilliant contrast to autumn-tinged grasses and wildflowers. But at one point, something else captured our attention. We began to see massive rocks in random positions—as if they had grown in the soil among the yucca and cacti. Mile after mile we marveled at boulders that appeared so out of place on the desert floor, and I wondered if God had tossed them over His shoulder after carving out a distant canyon.

By the time we traversed the hills that ushered us into California my wonder cup was full. And I realized we might never have enjoyed such panoramic views if circumstances had not pushed us in this direction. I further considered that so many natural wonders of the world have existed through the ages, yet most people will never see them.

Consumed by common pursuits, we miss the extraordinary ones. We might visit spectacular places if we set our minds to it—if strength, ability, and finances will support our adventures.

Years after that desert crossing, I have made little progress in seeing the world or even much of America. However, as a follower of Jesus, I have not missed out in beholding wonders.

Through Christ, despite any lack of strength, ability, or resources, we behold “the image of the invisible God… For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Colossians 1:15, 19 ESV). Through Him we have access to an undiluted view of God that will grow sharper as we grow closer. And our journey will never end.

God’s mystery… is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:3 ESV

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Patti Richter lives in north Georgia with her husband, Jim. She is a freelance journalist and long-time faith columnist at BlueRibbonNews.com with more than four hundred published articles.

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Patti is the co-author of the award-winning Signs of His Presence—Experiencing God’s Comfort in Times of Suffering. It is the story of Luann Mire, whose godly husband was blindsided by an indictment due to a former employer’s tax fraud. The resulting prison sentence and restitution took the once joyful couple into a long season of suffering as they fought judicial tyranny. Helpless to change her situation, Luann endured a painful examination of her life and found God faithful to His promises.

Join the conversation: What spectacular places have you visited?

Trust God’s Plan!

by Sheri Schofield

Twenty-six years ago, the Lord brought our family to Montana. While it is beautiful here, this is still cowboy country with old-fashioned views of the roles women can fill in churches. Although I was a trained director of children’s ministries, my church would not allow me to fill that position. I knew it was no different from the other churches in town in this regard, so there was very little point in changing churches.

I chafed at this restriction, for I wanted to start a children’s ministry program that would reach many children in our area. I felt restricted. Rebuffed. Disrespected. Not valued.

I asked God, “Why did you bring us here? How can I reach children for Jesus without the backing of my church?” He did not answer me. For years! But he did tell me to continue teaching the children. Each year, he would tell me which group he wanted me to focus on. So I did, even though the restrictions continued to bug me and I felt suffocated.

Eventually, the Lord told me, “If I wanted you to be the director, I would open that door. Trust me. Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.” (See Hebrews 13:1, NKJV.)

I did not like what God was saying, but I trusted him and did what he told me to do.

In 2015, the Lord told me to use the teaching plans he had given me for leading children to Jesus. I was to write and illustrate a book on that topic. I did. The Lord provided money for us to publish it. When it was published in 2018 he said, “Sheri, you have been longing to reach the children of your town for Jesus. Now you have the tool to do so. Give the books away to the children.”

We have now given away nearly 5,000 books on the plan of salvation, fully illustrated, to the children in our city, our state, and some (in Spanish) to Mexico. Now the adult version of this book is going to start circulating here. I could never have reached this many people for Jesus if the Lord had given me what I wanted in those early years. My kingdom harvest is larger, because I followed his directions.

Sometimes the Lord gives us orders we do not understand or like. If we obey him, we eventually see the beautiful pattern he has woven into our lives, for his glory. God’s plan is always more beautiful than we could imagine! But if we want to receive that plan, we need to trust him and follow his directions.

David, whom Samuel had anointed to be king in Israel, did not receive the promise immediately. Instead, he spent many years hiding from King Saul, who wanted David dead. But David did not fight back. He avoided Saul and trusted in the Lord’s timing. Later he wrote these words—

“Trust in the LORD and do good…take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him” (Psalm 37:3-6 NIV).

God rarely shows us the big picture of our lives. He simply asks us to trust and obey. Trust his plan!

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21 NIV

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

sheri schofield

About the author: Award-winning author, illustrator, and Bible teacher Sheri Schofield ministers to children and their families through her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids. After serving Jesus through children’s ministries and personal evangelism for many years, she understands how to communicate God’s plan of salvation clearly to those who are seeking God.

Her first book on salvation, “The Prince and the Plan”, was designed specifically for children. But during COVID, Sheri sensed the need to also provide help for adults. Her new book for adults, “God? Where Are You?,” tells tells who God is, how we became separated from him, and what he is doing to bring us back to himself through Jesus. At the end of each chapter is a section called “Food For Thought”, which answers questions many unbelievers have, such as—If God is good, why do terrible things happen?—Is anyone too “bad” for God to want to rescue them from sin? This biblically based book is short and easy to read. 

Join the conversation: Has God surprised you with an unexpected plan?

A Personal Promise

by Rhonda J. Dragomir

I curled into a fetal position on the kitchen floor and waited for my husband to come home. My plans for the day had crashed with me when I stumbled and fell, and a preexisting back injury made it impossible to rise on my own. I didn’t think anything was broken, but pain throbbed in my right eye, hand and hip. Since I couldn’t do anything else, I cried out to the Lord.

Sometimes circumstances make us feel like we’ve been tackled, laying on the turf, struggling to hold on to the football as player after player piles on. We’re tempted to feel God must be distracted, indifferent, or just plain cruel.

When I find myself doubting God’s love or care, the Psalms offer comfort. David was well acquainted with feelings of abandonment, discouragement and fear. As I deliberately slowed my breathing that day on the kitchen floor, I recalled Psalm 34, the very passage the Holy Spirit had led me to read that morning. I recited as much as I had memorized, beginning with verse one: “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips” (NIV).

As my spirits began to rise, I thanked the Lord for his protection and the psalm’s promises of deliverance. My glasses were smashed—but not broken, and I wasn’t bleeding. I praised him for sparing me from the “what ifs.” What if I had broken my nose or received substantial facial injuries? There was even a package on the floor the perfect height to use as a pillow. Strangely, the back injury I’d nursed for more than a month didn’t hurt at all.

My husband soon returned home and sprang into action. He helped me up, fetched ice packs, and sympathized with my distress. When I finally settled into bed for the night, I read Psalm 34 again, and I was awestruck by another verse which was so apropos for the day’s events: “He protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken” (verse 20 NIV).

The Word of God is eternal, but it is also personal. Psalm 34:20 is often interpreted as foreshadowing the death of Christ. But God also knew that morning what would befall me and what he planned to do. He tucked a hidden gem in my morning devotions—a comforting, personal promise—before I spent time on the kitchen floor with Him.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: An avid reader and writer, Rhonda Dragomir lives in the heart of idyllic horse country in central Kentucky. Her degree in Social Work from Asbury University prepared her for more than forty years of ministry as a pastor’s wife.

Rhonda writes both fiction and nonfiction, and she was named 2019 Writer of the Year by Serious Writer, Inc. Learn more about Rhonda on her website: www.rhondadragomir.com.

Join the conversation: What hidden gems has God given you lately?

Don’t Steal My Thunder

by Nan Corbitt Allen

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 NASB

Steal my thunder. I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase. It means to take someone else’s idea, using it for your own advantage, or to preempt someone else’s rhetorical impact. (Another literary word for this is plagiarism, which, unfortunately, I see sometimes while grading college essays.) I digress.

Most adages, like this one, have curious origins. This saying came from a not-so-successful eighteenth-century British playwright named John Dennis. Seems the guy had developed a new offstage sound effect for his play, Appius and Virginia, that simulated the sound of thunder. The play itself was not well-received. It closed quickly.

Then a director, using the same theatre, took Dennis’ idea and used it for his production of Macbeth. John Dennis happened to be in the audience of this production when he heard his sound effect being used. Mr. Dennis was incensed and stood up in the theatre and shouted, “They will not let my play run, but they steal my thunder.”

During storms that have passed our way lately, I thought of this idiom. I realized how often we take credit for what God has done. How we try to steal His thunder. But we’re not the only ones who have done this. There is, of course, a biblical precedent for it.

Remember the Tower of Babel? You can read about it in Genesis 11.

The story starts like this: (quotes from Genesis 11:1-9 MSG) “At one time, the whole Earth spoke the same language.” Everything was great, right? Then the people became arrogant and decided to build a tower to elevate themselves with a building that would reach to heaven. And here is their reasoning “They said, ‘Let’s make ourselves famous so we won’t be scattered here and there across the Earth.’” This did not please God, of course, and so He scrambled their speech so that they couldn’t understand each other. So “from there God scattered them all over the world.” That’s why there are so many languages today.

I’m not sure of their purpose in all this. Not only did God’s people think that building a tower (or fortress) would make them famous—but that it would keep them from being scattered. The only thing I can figure out is that they were comfortable with their circumstances, warm and cozy, and they didn’t want that to change. They also had a built-in work ethic. They didn’t mind hard work, apparently, but their contentment led to boredom; they became self-absorbed, letting the can-do attitude take their eyes off of their Creator. This is something about which we all need to be careful, even if it is in doing God’s work. It’s too easy to look at our accomplishments and forget under whose power it was done.

Paul writes “The real believers are the ones the Spirit of God leads to work away at this ministry, filling the air with Christ’s praise as we do it. We couldn’t carry this off by our own efforts, and we know it—even though we can list what many might think are impressive credentials”  (Philippians 3:3 MSG).

James speaks to those who have veered off course and are now hitting rock bottom. He writes, “Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet” (James 4:10 MSG)

Next time it thunders—remember—it is not your thunder. Neither is your strength your own. “Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am” (Phil. 4:13 MSG).

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

Nan Corbitt Allen

About the author: Nan Corbitt Allen has written over 100 published dramatic musicals, sketchbooks, and collections in collaboration with Dennis Allen, her husband of 45+ years. A three-time Dove Award winner, Nan’s lyrics and dramas have been performed around the world. Dennis and Nan have sold almost 3 million choral books. Nan and Dennis retired in 2020 from full time teaching at Truett McConnell University. They now live south of Nashville. They have two grown sons and two beautiful grandchildren.

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Nan’s book, Small Potatoes @ the Piggly Wiggly, is a collection of devotionals that reveal the great impact seemingly insignificant, routine experiences can have in our lives. She describes what she learned of God’s providence and wisdom while growing up in the Deep South in the 1950’s and 60’s.

Join the conversation: Have you inadvertently taken the credit for what God has done?

Does God Care?

by Laura Petherbridge

In the 40 years that I have walked with Christ, there have been many times when I’ve pondered, “Does God care?”

The first time was when my former spouse was having an affair, and he wanted out of our marriage. I’ve never felt so abandoned or truly alone. For hours I’d sit and listen to worship music, crying out to God for relief from the emotional agony. The words from those songs became my passionate prayers. My weary brain was too despondent, and depressed, to form words or thoughts on my own.

My divorce triggered hidden trauma that I never could have anticipated. It uprooted my intentionally suppressed childhood, along with all the insecurities and anxiety. With cruel and relentless advertisement divorce declared to the world that my deepest fears were true. “You are an ugly, fat, disgusting failure. No one will ever love you. Why would anyone want a stupid loser like you? You can’t even hold onto a husband”.  

I wanted to take my life. I seriously contemplated it.

But God…

Even though I was a very new Christian, I was blessed to have a wonderful church and mature women surrounding me. God used the prayers and teaching of those precious, trustworthy women to crush the evil lies that divorce repeatedly echoed into my wounded mind and heart.

They helped me to comprehend who God really is, and who He isn’t. They showed me Scriptures that revealed how God sees me, even in the pit of despair.

I started to believe them.  

And then one verse in particular leapt into my heart.

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8 NLT

What? God counts my tears? I was astonished that God desired to be that intimate. I could see Him delicately and tenderly placing each tear in a beautiful hand-crafted bottle. Not one of my tears were ignored, went unnoticed, or slipped through his fingers. Each moist droplet was carefully tended to by my Creator.

Captivated by the thought of it all, my tears moved from a place of sorrow to one of contentment. I was weeping from a place of gratitude. I knew for certain God meticulously observes and cares about every moment of my life. He gently cradles my suffering like a compassionate Daddy.

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior…Since you are precious in My sight, since you are honored and I love you. Isaiah 43:3-4 NLT

Said simply, He loves me.

And I’ve never been the same.  

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Laura Petherbridge is an international speaker and author of, When ‘I Do’ Becomes ‘I Don’t’, The Smart Stepmom101 Tips for The Smart Stepmom, and Quiet Moments for the Stepmom Soul.  She has appeared at/on the Billy Graham Center, Family Talk (Dobson), Focus on the Family, Today’s Christian Woman, FamilyLife, Lifeway and Moody Broadcasting. She has been a featured expert on the DivorceCare DVD series implemented in over 60,000 churches worldwide. In addition to the USA, she has spoken in South Africa, Australia, and Canada. Laura and Steve live in Atlanta, Ga and have been married for 35 years. She has two stepsons, daughters in law, and grandkids. She may be reached at www.TheSmartStepmom.com.

Laura’s resource When I Do Becomes I Don’t-Practical Steps for Healing During Separation and Divorce is answers to her most FAQ after 30 years in divorce recovery and stepfamily ministry. It includes chapters for friends and family, and a section for church leadership. 

Join the conversation: What part of God’s care for you fills you with gratitude?

How Long, God?

by Tracy Hester

“l will move past my enemies with this one, I sure hope: that with my own eyes. I will see the goodness of the Eternal One in the land of the living. Please, answer me, don’t give up! Wait for the Eternal One in expectation and be strong. Again, wait for the Eternal One.” Psalm 27:13-14 The Voice

Have you ever wondered if God has forgotten about you because you don’t hear his voice, or you don’t see him working in your situation? You’ve asked, “How long, God? I’m doing everything right reading my Bible, praying, serving others, leading a ministry, and even working on myself.”

It seems as if God has placed the desires of your heart on pause. He hasn’t said no or yes to your prayer and his will is vague. You are confused and apprehensive on whether you should move forward and take the risk or remain still. 

In Psalm 13, David is in a desperate situation. He is praying and asking God how long questions. But then his attitude and prayer changes:

“How long, O Eternal One, how long will You forget me? Forever? How long will You look the other way? How long must I agonize & grieve Your absence in my heart every day? How long will You let my enemies win? Turn back; respond to me, O Eternal One, my True God! Put the spark of life in my eyes, or I’m dead. My enemies will boast that they have beaten me; my foes will celebrate that I have stumbled. But I trust in Your faithful love; my heart leaps at the thought of imminent deliverance by You. I will sing to the Eternal, for He is always generous with me” (Psalm 13 The Voice).

David’s prayer is passionate. It expresses feelings of abandonment, fear, and insecurity because of his inability to feel God’s presence. Although David was anxious and questioned whether God would come through for him, at the end of the psalm he demonstrates what we should do while waiting for God to come through for us. As He finished writing, David shifted his question to a confession. His how long changed to Hallelujah. David began to give God the highest praise during his emotional pain. 

We are reminded in Philippians 4:6-7 not to be anxious about anything. Instead, if we pray about everything, the peace of God will come to us, and we will experience peace in our minds and hearts, despite our circumstances. While we wait on God, the solution is to pray, praise, and worship Him even when we don’t feel like it. When David started praying, he remembered how God had come through for him in the past, and he immediately became hopeful God was going to come through for him again.

That hope is available to us today. Pray as David did. God has your back.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Tracy Hester is a mentor, life coach, and a Bible teacher. She lives in Hercules, California, with her two children. She is excited about becoming a new grandmother in the fall of 2021 and releasing Get Up, Girl, Let’s Go in the spring of 2022. You can reach out to Tracy on Facebook or her website at tracyhester.com.

All Things New!: Discovering God’S Peace and Protection During Challenging Times by [Tracy Hester]

Tracy is the author of All Things New. When we experience personal struggles, we often hope He will remove our pain and instantaneously lift us from despair. But God’s plans for us will not always work out in that way. So often God wants us to instead take a journey of healing that can change our lives.

Join the conversation: Are you living in the place of how long?

Sometimes We Discover God Amid Disappointment

by Debbie Wilson

My teenaged heart awoke to God while lying on my back on a dock staring at stars only visible to someone away from city lights. The smell of the marsh, the rhythmic lap of the river, and the chirping night symphony cast a spell that made me feel small, yet part of something magnificent. David surely felt this magic when he wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Ps. 19:1).

Abraham also felt it. “For the Scriptures tell us, ‘Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith’” (Rom. 4:3 NLT). Genesis says this happened while he gazed at the stars.

Abraham had just defeated four wicked kings to rescue Lot, and he’d given up his rightful monetary reward. Perhaps he worried these kings would seek retribution. Or, in hindsight, had he been foolish not to take his fair share of the booty? Maybe he was just worn out from battle. Whatever his state, God understood and said, “Don’t fear, Abraham. I am your great reward.”

Now, if God told you He was your great reward, how would you respond? Would you bow speechless and amazed? Would you leap for joy?

Abraham said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless?” (Gen. 15:2).

“What can you give me?” Whoa, Abraham. Do you know whom you’re talking to?

His reply reminds me of the little girl who prayed, “Thank you for the baby brother—but I prayed for a puppy.”

Did Abraham’s Frankness Offend God?

No. Abraham and God were close. Abraham didn’t need to fake a pious response. God understood his disappointment and longing for a son. He promised Abraham a son and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.”

Count the stars? Impossible! But Abraham gazed into the heavens anyway. The cold lump of disappointment melted as he watched new stars emerge. Belief warmed his core and spilled out in laughter and tears. Yes, he would become the father of many. The Creator, the One who spoke worlds into being, would do this.

“And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness” (Gen. 15:5–6 NASB).    

Why would counting billions of stars help Abraham believe he would father a son? God gave Isaiah similar instructions. “Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing” (Isa. 30:26 NLT).

Abraham began to count the stars and was overcome. Nothing was impossible for the Creator of all of this. Scripture says he believed in God, and God counted his faith as righteousness.

The promise of a son was no longer remote when Abraham saw the size of God. The promise of great nations coming from an infertile couple was nothing to the Creator of the Milky Way.

In the end, God took Abraham’s weakness and turned it into a staggering promise. Not one heir, Abraham—billions.

What has discouraged you or left you feeling powerless? Have you brought your disappointment to God? Maybe it’s time for a little stargazing. Impossible problems are no problem for a big God.

O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens! Ps. 8:1 NASB

*Adapted from Little Faith, Big God, Leafwood Publishers

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Drawing from her walk with Christ, and years as a Christian counselor, coach, and Bible teacher, Debbie W. Wilson helps women give themselves a break so they can enjoy fruitful and grace-filled lives. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. Her latest book, Little Faith, Big God, was released in February 2020.

Little Faith, Big God: Grace to Grow When Your Faith Feels Small by [Wilson, Debbie]

Debbie and her husband Larry founded and run Lighthouse Ministries, a nonprofit counseling, coaching, and Bible study ministry. She is an AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) certified speaking and writing coach. Debbie enjoys a good mystery, dark chocolate, and the antics of her two standard poodles. Refresh your faith with free resources at debbieWwilson.com.

Join the conversation: Is there something in nature that speaks to you of God’s greatness?