Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Out of Faith

You’ve prayed for days, weeks, years, maybe even decades, but God sits in silence. In fact, you may even be certain, through His divine revelations, that your prayer isn’t going to be answered in the way you'd hoped. You may be completely convinced that God has said “no,” and He isn’t willing to open up His heart to explain "why," in order to keep your heart from breaking apart. You’ve had faith in the past. You believed Him up to this point, but right now, you’re out of faith. And in this moment, you’re not sure what to do next. You’re facing impossibilities, and though you call upon God for help . . . He’s nowhere to be found.

Our greatest weakness in our prayer life is not that we fail to pray, but that when God fails to answer in the way we thought He should and in the time frame we expected, we either doubt His love for us or question that He even exists at all. We fail to understand that our prayers have no expiration date in heaven—here on earth, where time is valuable and pain and suffering doesn’t cease, that’s not an easy truth to embrace. We need our faith to take sight, we find ourselves failing miserably at walking without sight and simply by faith. When we’re out of faith, when God is silent, when prayers appear to go unanswered, we must grasp this truth: Seemingly unanswered prayer is often God’s best answer.

The benefits of our momentary unanswered prayers can often times outweigh those of the ones immediately answered, when we’re being refined by God. We can agree with God on one thing, our supposed unanswered prayers have kept us coming back to His throne of Grace. And that’s the place He most wants us—mission accomplished. He knows that His silence will cause us to doubt. He knows that our unresolved situation and seemingly unanswered prayers will bring us to a place of questioning His existence. He’s brought you, or allowed you to come, to this place . . . where you feel you’re out of faith. You’re in a defining moment. The One you’re praying to is watching to see if you’ll pray “through.” Can you believe that God HAS heard you, and in this VERY moment He is working out His answer—which may not be the one you're hoping for? Will you trust that He knows best, even when you’re tempted to believe that you do? Can you stop pleading and start praising . . . even through your pain? When you’re out of faith, you need not rely on your feelings, just take one more step, pray one more prayer, and then do it again and again.

When you’re being faithful and God apparently isn’t, you may feel as though you’re setting yourself up for a complete failure in faith—but what you’re really doing is setting yourself up for a miracle. It may not be the one you’re praying for, but it will be evident that God heard you and that He answered your prayers in greater ways than you could have ever imagined. Your deadline doesn’t matter in God’s timeline . . . His delays are not His denials . . . God wants you seeking Him more than the answers to your prayers. God is full of sovereign surprises. You may feel like you’re out of faith, but you’re not. You can make the choice, at this very moment, to trust God regardless of what you’re feeling. God may not change your circumstances, but He’ll enable you to walk through them. That, in itself, is a miracle. Often times, when God is not displaying miracles through His power, He’s revealing greater miracles through His presence.

We find ourselves out of faith because we’re asking God to extend His hand, when His greatest purpose in our trials is to expose His heart. This trial you face is not to test you beyond your ability to endure, it’s so that your faith will be proven strong and sure. You won’t be able to find that strength in, and of, yourself, you’ll have to rely on God’s Promises to you. You’re going to have to take Him at His Word.
Your trial is the litmus test of your faith. Will you trust that God’s plan is better than yours? It’s only time that will tell. And the litmus test may not be clear. It’s not that it isn’t clear to God . . . it’s that deep down . . . we’re unsure of our own faith. We think we’re out of faith, but God knows better . . . He knows the measure He’s given to us (Romans 12:3). His apparent lack of answering our prayers isn’t His lack of caring, but His caring, so much, that He’s going to run this test until WE get it—until we understand, clearly, where our faith rests. When you’re in a test, it’s time to trust. And trust like you’ve never trusted before. Pray through and know that God is hearing you. Though every alarm within your soul is sounding and you’re certain your faith is failing, quietly trust in the Promises of God, He’s assured you: “This is a test, it is only a test.”

“So that the tested genuineness of your faith
more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—
may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
1 Peter 1:7 (ESV)


Karen said...

How I needed this word, Cherie...

This especially spoke to me...

"The benefits of unanswered prayers can often times outweigh those of the ones answered, when we’re being refined by God."

The Refiner's fire...where we never walk alone....

Reformed rebel said...

Cherie~I think you wrote this for me. This is just what I needed to read right now. I liked everything you said but this really stuck out to me...When you’re out of faith, you need not rely on your feelings, just take one more step, pray one more prayer, and then do it again and again. That's hard to do because you do feel like...what's the use? He's not answering anyway. When all the time we know in our hearts that we need to keep praying because He is faithful! Thank you. This is so good for me right now.


Kendra Quilts said...

Thank you Cherie as always! I feel you are speaking to me. God bless you always!

Unknown said...

Thanks for this post Cherie, a gentle reminder as always. A nudge in the right direction. I've been thinking along these lines the past few days. In our kitchen, I have a small marble shelf plaque "God understands our prayers, even when we can't find the words to say them". Sometimes we just need to let our hearts speak for us ... Thanks Cherie for this post.

Denise said...

Beautiful writing Sis; I am sure you have blessed many with this post! :) Standing firm in your faith can be challenging, but there should never be any doubt that God is always listening and that we should trust Him with the results of all our life circumstances!

Blessings and love :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you God for speaking to me once again through Cherie! Jeff was just asking me if it was possible he wasn't praying "the right way" as we're STILL waiting for word on the job Jeff applied for over 2 months ago. You hit the nail on the head with this sentence: And in this moment, you’re not sure what to do next. You’re facing impossibilities, and though you call upon God for help . . . He’s nowhere to be found. Oh sweet sister, you GET IT, you UNDERSTAND, you know EXACTLY what I need to hear to continue on this very DIFFICULT journey!! I WILL PRAY THROUGH this trail!! Blessings :)

Just Be Real said...

Cherie thank you for sharing. Blessings.

Cherie Hill said...

Sisters, you are each an incredible blessing in my life!! I'll stop by to pay each of you a visit! Blessings, love, hugs, and prayers,

my little cottage said...

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you only have to link it at people you follow and automatically my posts will show up with your other friends

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.God bless you


Anonymous said...

Amen! Too many times we take silence to mean that we are doing something wrong, when in fact, God doesn't call us to understand the silence, but to obedience as He refines. Love it! Thanks Cherie!

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I am so blessed that you would take the time to share your thoughts with me! You encourage my faith and I pray that God will fill you to the full with His love, mercy,and grace! With joy, Cherie

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