Have you ever wondered where God is? When things you pray about don’t ever seem to be answered. When other people’s prayers are answered quickly and you’re still sitting there listening quietly… patiently… and all you hear are…
One of my best friends is a friend from childhood. We share crazy memories from grade school to high school to college. We were in each other’s weddings and have made it through multiple births together. She was one of the first to know about my conversion with Christ, when I finally accepted Him, and she was there when I was baptized in Believer’s baptism. This dear friend later also accepted Christ as her Savior and although she lived a distance away from me, I continued to try to encourage her and disciple her in her walk with the Lord.
But it was hard.
The Lord gave me very strong Christian friends in my life (including my hubby) to disciple and help me. An amazing church family and so many opportunities for my faith to grow. But my friend’s story was different. Her husband wasn’t ‘religious’ so going to church at all was difficult for her. She was surrounded by non-believers and it seemed God hadn’t placed, really, anyone around my friend to help her in her Christian walk and it broke my heart.
All I could do was pray for her, and I did. Constantly.
I prayed that God would soften her husband’s heart and give them a longing to find a good church or to place Christians in their neighborhood. I prayed that once her babies were in the picture, God would give her a sense of obligation to raise those babies knowing Him. But most often I prayed that God would just place Godly Christian women in her life at work.
I sent her devotions and encouragement through the years, shared with her all the ‘I Spy’ opportunities where I saw God working in my own life, but it was clear that the life she was leading was not the one I had hoped for her as a follower of Christ.
I prayed for my friend for so many years…
then I stopped.
Oh, once in a while I would think about her and say a little prayer hoping that she could experience the same type of relationship that I have with my Savior…but it seemed like all of it was useless. She was still in the same place she was so many years ago…still such a baby Christian; not being fed or discipled. It had been too long. Maybe this is all God had planned for her.
But is it?
The Bible shares a story about a woman who suffered unanswered prayer for twelve years!
“And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse.” Mark 5:25-26
How do I know she prayed this long? Because of the testimony she has with how she reacted to Jesus later in the story.
But think about this poor woman. She had crazy health problems! Come on girls, can you imagine having ‘Aunt Flow’ visit for twelve years? And this wasn’t just a short, unannounced, knock-knock-surprise-I’m-here-for-the-weekend visit. It was a CONSTANT TWELVE YEAR flow!
NOT.EVEN.FUNNY. I really need to stop complaining.
And on top of that, because she had this discharge of blood, according to Jewish law she was considered unclean.
“If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, not at the time of her menstrual impurity, or if she has a discharge beyond the time of her impurity, all the days of the discharge she shall continue in uncleanness. As in the days of her impurity, she shall be unclean. Every bed on which she lies, all the days of her discharge, shall be to her as the bed of her impurity. And everything on which she sits shall be unclean, as in the uncleanness of her menstrual impurity.And whoever touches these things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening.“ Leviticus 15:25-27
What does that mean? This poor woman, suffering so much health-wise, couldn’t even be comforted. According to the law, she could not be in contact with anyone and couldn’t even live in the town with her family and friends. She was ostracized.
But what does she do? Instead of ending her prayers and dumping her belief… instead of giving up and thinking “Oh gee, Jesus is here… why bother? Maybe this is just what God has planned for me.”
No, she trusted.
“She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, ‘If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.’ And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.“ Mark 5:27-29
I recently heard from my dear friend. She finally got a cell phone so we are able to text whenever we want now. (We will certainly be keeping the cell phone companies in business!) Woohoo!!
After we caught up a bit on the goings on in our lives, she told me this:
“I have to tell you something I don’t think you’ll be surprised by. I work with some amazing Godly women. I swear one friend was sent by you somehow.”
I was dumbfounded. How silly of me to think that God had forgotten or that through these years He hadn’t been working…preparing. If only I had trusted with the same faith as that woman…
“And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” Mark 5:32-34
God has a plan for our lives, and it’s in His timing when it will be revealed to us. In the mean time we must keep the faith…stay the course…and trust that all things from Him are good.
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!”