Decision-making can be hard. And waiting for clarity from God on what to do can be hard, too. Even when we are trusting God for His best, we may pray and ask God to make something clear to us, but still wrestle with leaving it wholly in His hands. Such was the case with our daughter.
She was moving along in a process of waiting, praying and asking for prayer for discernment and direction over something that would radically alter her world, and she didn’t want to ‘make a mistake.’ She thoroughly researched all the ramifications that would result from her decision, sought Godly counsel, and set aside daily time with God to seek His will. She was about as purposeful as one can be in desiring to present herself as a vessel for God’s use, but she still lacked the answer of specifically what she should do.
Long talks with friends and family helped her feel supported, but she was no closer to knowing whether to move forward, feeling trapped by an approaching conversation that would perhaps demand her response. She did what any smart girl would do in that situation and called her mom.
I say that quite jokingly, because to be honest, I was in no position to offer her any further clarity about what to do, but it did concern me greatly that she wasn’t sleeping well. “I wake a lot in the night, and am restless and can’t sleep,” she confided. “I pray all the time, telling God that I want to honor Him in my life and asking Him to give me direction and tell me what to do. I’m so tired. I haven’t slept straight through a night for weeks. I just need some advice, Mom.”
I’d been praying as she’d talked, pleading for some nugget of wisdom to share with my precious girl who was so earnest in her desire to please God. Surely He would shower us with an avalanche of arrows, pointing exactly which path she should take, or at least a pillar of fire to light up the way? Nope. Nada. Nothing. Sigh.
“Well, honey,” I bravely began, all while praying madly for that nugget of brilliant insight, “it worries me that you’re not sleeping. Maybe you need to spray your pillow with Lavender essential oil and drink some herbal tea in the evening to help you get drowsy.” (Honestly, Sarah?? That’s the best you can give her?! Good grief. ‘Please Lord, help me.’)
“And you know, it occurs to me that you’re doing all the right things, praying, seeking counsel, researching the pros and cons studiously and laying this before God. But then you seem to be asking Him to guide you right now, when honestly, you don’t need to know the answer just yet.”
I raised my eyebrows. Hey, that seemed to be some good counsel right there; God gave me a bit more.
“In fact, you know, God often doesn’t give us all the information neatly up front, but in His own time. You don’t have to make this decision today. You have a good week or so before you’re presented with some more information – and who knows but that what you learn then could help make this decision for you. You may find you discover some things in the next weeks that will give you clear direction. God can arrange any myriad of things that will bring you what you need to know.”
I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me to say a bit more of what He was putting on my heart to share. “So do you think that maybe you’re asking the right question, with the right motive, but wanting an answer before God’s ready to show you? He is pleased with your heart that desires to please Him. He knows that you need His guidance and that this is a big deal; so now we have to trust Him.
Leave your situation in His able hands and release yourself from demanding an immediate answer. And let yourself rest.”
I heard a sniffle from the other end of the phone. I took a deep breath.
“Sweetheart, I’m going to be praying for you to get a night of delicious sleep, for you to really sense a freedom from what you perceive as urgent, and an ability to leave this in God’s hands. In fact, I’m going to text my prayer team ladies and ask them to be praying, too.”
After we disconnected I felt God telling me not to text my prayer warrior friends and pondered this. He brought to mind that a couple of days earlier I’d brought my own heart to Him as I’d struggled with questioning if God would respond to my prayers. I’d confessed doubt that my bringing petitions to Him was enough to move His heart. The Bible says that the “Prayers of the righteous avail much,” but lately I’d questioned if I fit into that category, since it had seemed that many of my prayers seemed to go unanswered, and I’d been discouraged earlier that week when I approached God about it. You know how it feels when sometimes there are ‘spiritual giants’ around you who seem to have it all together and rarely struggle with doubt? I’d been in contact with several of those lately and feeling that I lacked.
I hung my head. “Okay, Lord; I won’t text the ladies. Please let our daughter sleep deeply tonight, and all the way through. And let the fact that it’s just me and her that are praying for this mini miracle build our trust more deeply in You.”
I couldn’t wait till morning. Would she sleep? Would she let me know? She wasn’t aware of my own grappling heart about my own inadequacy as a Pray-er before our Heavenly Father; I hadn’t wanted to trouble her heart with my own struggle.
Her text came at 9:43 my time, “Slept through the whole night for the first time in a month! Feel so so refreshed!” The raised hand emoji’s reflected my own elation!
I wept. I had asked God to make our faith deeper by answering this simple need, to have it affirmed that our prayers – hers and mine – were heard by our loving Father and availed much.
Tears poured as my heart soared!
I praised God in verse, in song, out loud and in prayer. I was jubilant to realize that God’s response was not only to show us that He cares, but also that we can trust Him fully, for Every. Last. Need. Talk about a faith builder!
We all can fall into doubt. Hard circumstances, heartache, plenty of chaos and confusion surround us, and at times it can seem that God’s just not paying much attention. But the truth is that He knows, and His love and sovereignty are firmly in place. He just asks that we come to Him with all that is on our hearts, and then, for our simple trust.
Some of my favorite verses are, “You (Oh God) will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” And, “God makes all things work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”
I ended up sharing with my daughter what I myself had grappled with. I wanted her to have the joy of seeing how God had worked in both our hearts through His kindness and grace. Her response was perfect, “I absolutely love that, Mom! And so appreciate you sharing that part with me.”
When we are willing to be vulnerable and share the honest truth that we all struggle, I believe God is glorified. He doesn’t ask us to have all the answers. He asks us to come running to the One who does, and throw ourselves on His perfect sufficiency and love, trusting Him to provide all we need, and worshipping Him with gratefulness and adoration as He supplies all our need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:19 Isn’t that a precious promise?! Indeed, it is.
I pray that you are blessed and encouraged today to cling ever closer to our loving Father, who loves us lavishly. ~