Studying the Woman of Shunem made me want to read and learn more about other women in the Bible, especially some of the women I remember hearing about in Sunday school: Sarah, Rachel, Leah, Ruth, Hannah, Mary, the mother of Jesus, the woman at the well, and many other women who lived during biblical times.
Sometimes, I’ve read books or heard sermons about these same women, and I’ve always thought of them as heroes. You know, women who had the type of lives that I could never live.
What seemed daunting was their ability to hold onto a promise from God or to keep praying until they received an answer.
How could they get up each day, face the same circumstances, and yet continue seeking God with hope and trust? Where did they get the faith to believe He would answer their prayers?
As I prayed for understanding and asked God to give me the ability to trust Him like the women I’m studying, He answered my prayer request in a way that both surprised me and encouraged me.
I’d like to share a personal story with you:
I have two beautiful step-children. However, due to circumstances out of our control, my husband and I were not a part of their lives while they grew up. Most of the time, we had no idea where they lived or how to get in touch with them.
Each day, we prayed for them and trusted God to watch over them and protect them. We asked the Lord to heal and restore the broken ties and to unite us with them and make our family complete.
When God blessed us with children of our own, we felt the ache of an incomplete family. Vital pieces were missing.
Our children grew up knowing about their older siblings. They added their little prayers to ours. Each night, they diligently asked God to bless their older brother and sister and let them come to visit us.
We kept their names and birthdays marked on our family calendars and always thought about them on holidays.
So many questions went unanswered. Sometimes it hurt and was difficult and frustrating, but we did our best to always keep positive attitudes and believe that God would make our family whole.
Twenty-two years later, my stepson called. It seemed like it was “out of the blue.” We looked at it as a miracle, and as proof that God answers prayers – certainly not in our timing, but at the precise moment He desires and deems best.
When we got together with my stepson and his wife, we were even more surprised to find out that they had been searching for us for eight years!
Slowly, we are becoming whole again. It feels like putting the final pieces of a puzzle together.
Sometimes my husband and I can’t believe our prayers have been answered. And at other times, we think, “Did we really hang on to our hope for such a long time?”
The memory of this “tangible” miracle of ours helped me understand how God developed our faith, one day at a time.
Great faith and trust is gained little by little and day by day.
There’s no way I would even think to compare myself to these dynamic women in the Bible, but I think I’m beginning to understand how they persevered and held onto their faith and kept their trust and hope alive. It wasn’t in one huge chunk – but in daily increments.
I praise God for the example He caused me to remember. It stirs my hope and strengthens my faith as I continue to trust Him with my petitions, especially the ones regarding my health.
What about you? Do you feel yourself becoming weary as you pray? Has your faith wavered because the answer is delayed? Do you feel discouraged because you can’t see improvement in your relationship? Finances? Job? Your struggle with sin?
Whatever it is, make the decision to dig your heels in and keep praying and trusting God. No matter how long it takes, determine to stand firm, knowing that God is working everything out for the best. And, in the process, He is also changing you and making you stronger.
I will update my “Lessons I’m Learning Page” soon. I’m studying the life of Hannah, and I’m excited to share what I’m learning and how her life inspires my prayer life!