"Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know."
--Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV
Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh.
--Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV
Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh.
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear.
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh,
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.
There are times when our prayers go unanswered.
We feel like God has put us on the back burner, on the "shelf."
All around is silence.
Like the aching stillness after a winter blizzard.
Like the quietness of summer's breeze through the stifling heat that will not break.
I was engaged for 5 years.
It was an act of the conscience and of the will -- it was an act of necessity -- my father left our family.
In a destitute and precarious position -- but only after a seeming-eternal period of wavering between coming and going.
Unusual circumstances forced and compelled my now-husband and I to wait.
We were engaged 5 years.
At times I felt as though my youth was being eaten-up--
I was "losing" my years -- my years to have children, my years to keep a home, my happy, carefree years--
Instead they were etched with sorrow and poverty and continual trials.
But the Lord was, in reality, redeeming my years . . .
I look back upon that time now -- look back --
When the desperation and the quiet silent stillness seemed unbearable --
When I felt like I just couldn't wait in uncertainty one more day.
And five years seemed an eternity . . .
But I look back now and see His love.
The waiting was hard.
But the answer was beautiful . . . in His perfect time.
He has made everything beautiful in its time.
After five long years, the storm broke, the dust cleared.
We were poor as poor could be, but the Lord was with us.
We didn't have the money to get married; we weren't sure what we were going to do. My mom was struggling to keep her home; our family lived day to day on the edge of poverty. So we prayed.
I always dreamed of getting married at a local rustic venue called The Francis Farm.
I had visited there once, filled out a paper saying that I was interested and then left, feeling in my heart that it could never be -- it was far too expensive -- it just would not be possible.
Another hope that I had buried in my heart was that we would be able to invite everyone in our smallish church, as well as our close friends and relatives -- that no one would feel excluded; this was a burden on my heart.
This story sounds incredible, but it is true.
One day, deep into the five years of our engagement, the home phone -- where I lived with my Mom and my younger sister, rang.
The person on the other line asked for me. It was a representative from the Francis Farm.
And what she said was all a blur. Because of the "hard" financial times that the country was going through, they wanted to give a free wedding to one person they had picked randomly from a pile of papers of people like me who had expressed a desire to have their wedding there.
My name was chosen.
The budget that they allotted me enabled me to invite everyone that we desired to.
The Lord had worked miraculously, and I still look back on that event with wonder.
The Lord in His mercy had answered my deepest prayer.
I had always wanted to be married in June as well and there was a date available -- June 19th.
The Lord is merciful.
And had worked wonders for me, for my husband. We had waited -- only by the grace of God -- and He blessed us --
We had waited, sometimes in quiet desperation, but in faith, knowing that our Lord was good.
He gave us the desire of our heart.
Sometimes prayer goes unanswered because the Lord is preparing to bring great glory to Himself -- and a greater blessing than if He had answered immediately or if we had taken matters into our own hands.
In this situation, I had been convinced through prayer that it was the Lord's will for my now-husband and I to be married.
The Lord was teaching me yieldness and surrender, teaching me the lesson of believing, persevering prayer -- teaching me to wait upon Him and to trust Him where I saw no human answer.
We were waiting for His perfect timing; waiting for a door to open -- a door that only He could open in our unusual situation.
We dig the trenches of prayer so that He can fill them with His abundance. . .
He gave in abundance.
He is a merciful God.
When prayer, in agreement and submission to His will goes unanswered, He is preparing us for a blessing, perhaps not the blessing we were expecting, but when we truly wait upon Him, His answer will be beautiful in due season.
He is gracious.
He loves to do the unexpected.
To teach us to trust Him through the agony of unanswered prayer, to teach us the fellowship of sharing in his suffering--
That we also may share in His joy.
The principle is this--when we wait upon God in yielded, surrendered trust (the Lord helping us in our weakness) He visits us with His faithfulness.
The miracle came at the end of surrender . . .
Or perhaps, maybe the miracle is the grace to surrender itself . . .
And so we drove away on that day in June under the brilliant blue sky -- knowing that He had waited so that He could be gracious to us . . .
"I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name."
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