To say the first few months of this year have been ‘hard’, would be an incredible understatement.
I can’t remember if I’ve been in a more challenging place… a place filled with heartache and hardships I never asked for.
Relationship problems. Health issues. Financial debt. Parenting struggles… just to name a few.
I know life isn’t perfect, but all of these incidents have me so confused. Why now? Why us? Why are these things happening, especially after the word God had given me for the year?
Word for the year
I’m not sure if you are obsessed with the ‘word-for-a-year’ thing like I am, but every January 1st I ask Jesus for a theme He would like me to pursue for the next 365 days. It gives me vision and motivation to move forward into the future.
And so, when God laid the word “miracle” on my heart, I immediately got excited.
And then I wanted to hide…
You see, people remember the miracles.
They love retelling the stories of God’s faithfulness and goodness.
But, here’s a catch: miracles aren’t needed unless there is a reason. And what would be my reason?
Was this year going to be full of problems and that was why God gave me this word?
Our Creator’s Kindness
I could feel my chest begin to pound. Panic was rearing its ugly head.
Because, if my family’s pain was the predecessor to God’s power, then all I had to say was HARD PASS.
I’d rather strive my way into solutions and still have control over my situation.
The unknown was too scary. Uncertainty too fierce.
I didn’t want to need God’s miracles. I didn’t want to walk through the fire.
But, God saw me.
He knew my fears and held me close in His arms.
He steadied my beating heart and asked me to trust in His love.
Because yes, the need precedes the miracle, but a gift is also entwined within.
In our Creator’s kindness, He made life so that it would be out of our control. Circumstances arise that make it impossible for us to fix, alone.
We may look around and gather all of our strength in hopes of making things right.
But, God wants more for us.
He doesn’t want us to be faced with that much pressure.
Instead, He wants us to loosen our white-knuckled grips and hand our cares over to Him.
A few weeks ago, my husband was having difficulty walking.
It’s been getting worse throughout the years, even though we’ve visited a plethora of doctors. Still no answers.
No one has been able to tell us why his mobility and muscles are failing… why he has to be careful while wrestling with his boys or walking up the stairs.
It’s so hard to watch, as his wife. He’s in his 30’s. This is supposed to be his prime, and yet, he needs me to take out the trash and carry the laundry to our room.
As I’ve taken on the extra loads, the weight of what I’m carrying almost keeps me down. I’m exhausted. The physical wear is catching up with my body.
This isn’t what we asked for. This isn’t the miracle we were hoping for.
Everything is out of my control because, no matter what I do, I can’t make my husband’s body mend.
I can’t strive my way towards his healing. And so, I do the only thing I have left.
Pray first, not last
Sweet Reader, I want to tell you something important. Something we shouldn’t easily forget, especially when times get tough.
Prayer was never meant to be ‘last’. God has always wanted it to come first.
When we feel helpless, we first need to seek our Helper.
When we need provision, we first need to ask our Provider.
When our strength is disappearing, we need our true Sustainer.
And when we require more holy manna, we need our Miracle Maker.
Prayer in the bible
As I’ve read through the Bible recently, I’m amazed at the number of times prayer is used by the apostles.
Paul and Peter were constantly talking about prayer, even asking for prayer themselves. It was never secondary. It was always primary.
And that is because they saw it modelled.
The disciples personally witnessed Jesus talking with His Father, the Word reciting the Word back towards heaven.
We are told as God’s children to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonian 5:17) and I believe God says this in order to bless us throughout our lives, but particularly during the moments we need Him most.
Dear friend, prayer is not mediocre.
When we open our hearts and minds to God, we experience a sacred connection directly to His throne.
We come boldly into His presence, just as we are.
Free from shame. Free from fear. Free from guilt.
He waits for us eagerly, ready to hear the longings of our souls.
This is something He desires. This is something He chooses.
James 5:16 says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (NLT)
Confession is meaningful. Prayer is potent.
And, even more than this, prayer works wonders!
Because we are crowned in the righteousness of Christ, we all have the ability to shake things up in the heavenly realm.
Prayer: A gift from God
As God’s beloved Sons or Daughters, we can come to our Father and ask Him to move mountains on behalf of our ourselves, our loved ones, our community and our world.
Prayer changes everything.
Prayer brings God’s Kingdom, down.
Brothers and Sisters, we have been invited into God’s glory-making business. It’s a treasure. A precious gift.
And when we come before our King, He gives us even more.
He gives us His peace.
He gives us His power.
He gives us His promises.
As we pray, He gives us more of Him.
Maybe the biggest miracle isn’t the one we seek in front of us.
Maybe it’s the prayer-filled transformation of our surrendered hearts.
Maybe the miracle is us.
Maybe the miracle is you.