Friends of mine lost their three month old infant son over a month ago.
Another friend is now counting her miscarriages on two hands.
Several friends are watching their parents battle cancer.
Other friends are struggling with finances. Or difficult decisions. Family complications.
Friends are waiting on the adoption call. Waiting on prayers to be answered. Struggling with the day-to-day demands of life.
I know friends struggle with things they don’t share.
And then there’s my own burdens I am easily drowned by. Even more than finances it feels like the unanswered prayers of many years and the constant questions of what next.
I’m not even talking about world events here, either. I’m just talking about the every day living, the things that can drown our hearts, weigh us down, cut the core out of us and spit it back out.
Because when it feels like you’ve shed every tear possible, and prayed every prayer you can, and have waited for answers longer than you imagined you would, you want to throw up your hands and scream and ask all the questions.
Why is this mountain still here?
Why haven’t you parted the waters?
Why aren’t there answers to my pain?
The answer for Christians is simple. Simple and yet it takes boldness to live it out. It takes a life willing to dare to do it. Do we dare?
Dare to trust Him still?
Six years ago we were visiting friends out of state and went to their church. It was a beautiful little place, so free and full of the Spirit. I remember the pastor had us sit in our seats and listen for God’s voice. We were holding hands and I felt this warmth pass through me and had the urge to start bawling (which is often how I feel the Spirit), but since I was pretty new in my journey of being Spirit-led I wasn’t about the start blubbering in a strange church (although it took all my willpower not to). I remember hearing a gal behind me say, “I love you, Jesus,” not in a showy way but in a way where she was honestly expressing herself and I wished I were so bold. At the end of the service, I felt prompted to go up for prayer when they asked.
Looking back over our journey, I can see this was the beginning of my decision, where the prayers of so many years were like seeds taking root. But the soil was still weak and it felt like I was hearing nothing. Like I was out of tears and out of words and needed someone to just tell me what to do already.
I asked for prayer from this couple, in their sixties likely. They asked what I needed prayer for and I told them that I was trying to make a decision and was having trouble hearing from God what to do. The woman asked me why I thought it was so hard and I told her it was the desire of my heart and so it made it hard to know if what I was hearing was just my own voice, or His.
While I don’t remember exactly what they looked like, I remember how the woman’s face changed when I said that. As though she understood so much of what I was saying, almost as if she even knew what that desire was. They laid hands on me and started praying, he in English, she very softly in tongues.
I don’t remember much of what they prayed. But after only a short time, the woman suddenly turned my body so she was totally facing me. She had her hands on both my forearms and she suddenly started talking to me, quickly, with her eyes still closed. I don’t remember most of what she said, but one thing she kept saying over and over.
You have to trust me. You have to trust me.
What was so different about this experience was that her words were not typical. It wasn’t, you have to trust Him, or you have to trust God. It was, “You have to trust me.” As though God was literally speaking the words to me through her lips.
I often remember this experience. It took me three years after that day to actually trust Him enough to leave my job and now here I sit writing three years after that moment, still learning what it looks like to trust. You’d think I’d have figured it out by now.
I’ve thought time and time again that the waters would have already parted. That the things we’ve been asking and praying for would have already happened.
I know I have friends who have experienced greater losses than I have and are struggling in ways I cannot understand. Sometimes it seems like it’s easy to compare our circumstances. When you see someone who is experiencing something so much harder than what you’re going through, it give you a little perspective. But hard seasons will come to us all. We’re promised that in Scripture.
And whether our hurt and struggles come from loss or waiting or unanswered prayers or whatever else, the answer is the same.
You have to trust me. You have to trust me.
We have to be bold. We have to dare to take on this life and keep our eyes focused on Him and not our circumstances. Because otherwise? The world will suck us in and drown us out and the enemy who so wants to steal and kill and destroy will have his way.
Do we dare? Dare to trust Him?
And not just say we do. But really do it. Live our lives in a way that shows a reckless desire to know Him so that the trust part is just second nature. No matter what happens.
It’s bold, friends. It’s not the way most of the world is living. The world wants to nitpick parents apart on social media and be keyboard brave over every little thing that happens and unfriend you if you possibly think for yourself and fight and live in fear over every little and big thing.
He’s asked me again and again over the years, “Do you trust me? Do you trust me?”
My answer has always been yes in words. But I shamefully admit, not yes in action.
I couldn’t attend the funeral for the sweet baby boy I mentioned above as my friends live a plane ride away. I was thankful to read about it here, from the perspective of one of their friends.
And as I read and wept through their story, all I could think about was, if they can point to Jesus as they laid their hands on their baby during the funeral and still sing the words, “through it all, through it all, my eyes are on you,” then surely I can dare to trust too.
Dare to trust Him beyond anything my eyes see.
Dare to live this life in the world but not of the world.
Dare to look beyond my circumstances and trust His word is true.
Dare to trust in the hope only He offers.
Will you dare to trust with me?