Towards the end of 2011, I read a book called Radical by David Platt that changed my life in so many ways. The book was about living radically as a Christian. Although I didn’t agree with the entire book, I decided to do the one-year challenge at the end. I don’t remember the whole challenge, but I do remember the two things I stuck with: read the whole bible in one year, and pray for the entire world. Now before you applaud, I’ll be honest, I did not pray for the entire world…I started to, country by country, but I got distracted and eventually wavered off. However, prayer became a very real thing in my life. I began to spend time in prayer daily and really seek God for the decisions I was making in my life. One of the first times in my life that I saw the true power of prayer in seeking God’s will for my life was when I decided to date my husband. I had just ended a previous relationship and was convinced that I was done with them for a while. In fact, I swore to a good friend of mine that I was in no way going to even consider thinking of dating anyone for 30 days. Well, it’s funny how life works sometimes. About a week later things began to spark between Joel and myself after a late night bible study, when he said some things that really stuck in my heart. I was stressed and still convinced I did not want to be in a relationship. I began to pray like I have never prayed before. I would literally wake up in the middle of the night and hear God say “You need to pray for Joel”…and I would. This isn’t something I’ve shared with many people. After a few weeks and many long hours of prayer, it became evident that God was telling me to give it a shot. Exactly 30 days later we started dating, 5 months later were engaged and 5 months after that were married. God’s timing is always perfect, even if we don’t understand it at the time.
These past few months have been extremely hard for me and our family. Dealing with things like: lay-offs, career changes, cancer, sick family members and friends, corrupted relationships. There have been days where I look around heart-broken, wondering when all the bad things around me are going to come to an end. The answer is: they aren’t. It’s a hard answer. We don’t always understand why things happen and at the end of the day there is really no way that we can. In these times of hardship, I’ve found that prayer needs to be a constant in my life. There are days, like today, where I just want to throw up my hands and yell “Why God? Please no more bad things!”. The bible commands us that we need to pray. “Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.” – James 5:13-16. This doesn’t mean that all of our prayers our going to be answered, but at the end of the day, it is still important to praise God for the many great things he has given us. Whenever I am having a ‘rough time’, I like to think of Job. Job was a man of great faith, amazing faith, a faith that I pray for every day. He was tested and lost nearly everything and still chose to believe and not blame God. I find this so encouraging.
In August, I lost my job. It was hard. I spent months searching, and Joel and I prayed and prayed that not just any job would come along, but that the right one would. Months passed and by December I began to grow frustrated. I was tired of being at home and was starting to feel like the right job would never come along, but God had other plans. On December 29th, a friend of mine messaged me a job posting that had been sent to him for a writer/editor position at a non-profit Christian organization. I briefly read it while on the phone with a girlfriend of mine, who read it at the same time as me. After a few minutes she said, “V, did you even read this? This job would be perfect for you.” I read it again, and indeed she was right. I spent two days praying and obsessing over my cover letter. On New Year’s Eve I sent it in. Two days later I received a phone call. The next day I had an interview. Two days after that I was offered a position, which was literally everything that we had spent months praying for in a position for me. God is AMAZING. He answers prayers. He really does. He doesn’t make everything perfect and we don’t always understand why bad things happen, and it is so so hard. As Christian’s we need to trust in God’s timing, especially when it comes to prayer. Remember, as you go through hardships to have patience in your prayer and trust that God’s plan is so much bigger than anything we could ever fathom.
I’ll end with a children’s song that is taken from Philippians 4. Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for what He has done. Don’t worry, instead pray! *insert child-like choreography here*.