Sometimes when ministering to others you (I) can get discouraged. For me I see kids come and go make good choices and then fall into bad choices. Often I have heard pastors say how great it is to have a full congregation at church and then the next week be discouraged when there are empty seats.
We read in James 5:16 that the effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Although it is easy to say this verse, it is a totally different story to believe it and to be effective and fervent in our prayers. This can especially be true when it’s geared towards people or ministries we have been praying a long time for. Maybe even years and years and we see no answer so we stop and give up. God has called us to be faithful and keep our eyes on Him, to walk in faith and obedience and it will pay off.
There are many examples of people feeling discouraged by different callings in the Bible. Jonah for instance when called to go fled. He didn’t want to bring the gospel to Nineveh because of their sin. It was hard for him to understand how God could forgive such a wicked people. God had a plan and a reason for calling Jonah, yet because he didn’t want to be obedient we all know where that path lead him. He sat three days in the belly of a fish. If you ever smelt anything rotten you could imagine what that was like… yuck!
I also think of Jeremiah who preached faithfully thirty years and saw not a single convert. I know in my own human nature, I myself might have given up at like month six. Jeremiah was faithful and followed the call he was given.
I was walking with one of the high school girls today and I began asking her if she was still praying for her parents salvation. She shrugged and said, “I don’t know sometimes.” I asked her if she believed God was going to answer her prayers and again she shrugged. I encouraged her that our faith is not in our family or friends, but in God. We can hold God to His word that say’s if we ask anything In His name it will be given to us. Also how it says He wishes none to perish but all to have everlasting life. So in praying for salvation we are praying according to Gods will. We can believe in faith He will hear those prayers. Then we had an awesome time of prayer together for her parents.
I know Again it is easy for us (me) to share this with others, but do we believe it ourselves? It seems God has been showing me His power and how He wants me to trust in faith His plan.
In my Bible I have many of the names of kids that have come through the youth group or who I have met in the community. I often pray for them even when I haven’t seen them in years. Recently I have noticed a lot of youth struggling and I have gotten discouraged in my prayers for these kids.
As I was praying a few weeks ago I remembered a thought pass through my head, why keep praying for them, why not just give up?That very night I received a phone call from a girl. One who was in the group of kids I was praying for. She was crying and asked if she could meet with me. We met at a coffee shop and she began sharing how all the partying was getting old and the bad choices she had made were making her unhappy.
She went on to share about that morning how she was in her bathroom and asked God if he was there for a sign. She said there was a sun roof in her bathroom always covered with leaves and never let any light in. She always wished it was clear so she could see out it, even climbed up on the roof once and tried to clear them. She shared that as she asked God for a sign that the wind blew all the leaves off the sunroof. The light shined brightly in and she began to cry and called me. God is so faithful to meet us!!!
As she was sharing this with me I found myself apologizing to God for my lack of belief and for allowing discouragement to take such a toll on me. You see, God had been hearing my prayers and was/ is working in His own timing. This young girl had sense given her heart to Christ and entered into a personal relationship with God. She has become an example to so many of her old friends as they see Her life changing because of God. Don’t you love how the Bible says that even when we are faithless God remains faithful. We need to remember that whatever our situation is today, it is not larger than the God we serve. Lay it as his feet and trust it to Him.
I want to end this all with a verse and also a poem that this young girl wrote and gave to me. May it touch you as it has me. 1 Chor. 15:58
Thoughts I can’t take back
sometimes you feel like nothings worth it.
getting up, putting a face on, going out in public. worthless
this low space, we all go through, is the most vulnerable, scary place to venture in.
sometimes, one goes in, and never comes out.
but for those who come out, they see life in different more beautiful ways.
appreciating what they once almost lost.
fear does not entitle you to anything but the sheer knowledge, that everything is gonna be okay.
i fear waking up and looking in the mirror, because i know, that ugly, fat girls looking back.
but theirs a love inside of me, that, just by a thimble, lets me have the power to look past to see the beauty and talent inside.
if we give up on the part of us that we hate, than we give up on the part that we love.
we have to keep going; through fear, hate, pain, judgement… everything.
and at some point, in some way, we will find enlightenment, love, and acceptance in Christ. and that is the day, that keeps me waking up in the morning
love to love, and thats that.