We both had things to say as we sat in that corner booth of Waffle House, and I found divine questions dancing behind my tongue, eager for ears to listen.
How do I know what to keep praying boldly for and persevering in? How do I know what to remain faithful to if I can’t see where God wants to do the greatest work? I asked her.
Isaiah didn’t see a single convert as he did God’s will, but did that make him any less faithful? She asked me.
. . . . . .
I don’t know many things. I hardly know anything, I should say.
I know what I desire, what I wish God would do. But I don’t know for sure if those desires are His. I don’t know for sure if big results will be reaped from my big dreams.
All I know is I keep praying and hoping. I keep thinking that holding onto these dreams says something. Look, God. I’m not giving up. I want to be faithful with this.
Will you bless me if I remain faithful? Will you let these things come to pass if I don’t cease believing and praying?
I thought maybe she would bring me divine answers in that Waffle House, but I instead walked away with a question.
Isaiah didn’t see a single convert as he did God’s will, but did that make him any less faithful?
Any less faithful than the pastors of the largest church congregations in the world, she was referring to. Any less faithful than the person with the longest list of people brought to faith by their ministry.
No, Isaiah was not any less faithful. He was obedient and bold in prayer without seeing the numbers. He knew the numbers weren’t what mattered. He knew what he had to do, whether there were visible results or no results at all.
Can I say the same thing about myself?
. . . . . .
God is calling me to be faithful.
What am I going to do with that? With just this one piece of information, this one glimpse of His plan for my life?
I’m going to be faithful. I’m going to be faithful with where I’m at and with what I have.
My life isn’t meant to be a numbers-based journey comprised of me hopping around from one success to another, looking for the greatest product of my efforts.
I’m called to a faith-based journey comprised of me trusting in God’s sovereignty and grace over each decision I make and every step I take.
It doesn’t matter how many fights we have, how many obstacles and temptations we face, how many late nights of tearful miscommunications we have — I will remain faithful to the man I believe God has brought into my life, the man I have promised to love daily and intentionally.
It doesn’t matter how many kids raise their hands during the prayer of salvation, how many attendees we have at our church events, how many things I could complain about or find fault in — I will remain faithful to this ministry with middle schoolers that God has given me a passion for.
It doesn’t matter how few people read my writing or how many followers this blog has — I will remain faithful to the burdens God has placed on my heart and the gift He has given me to share them.
It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve been ignored by people, how many communities I’ve been hurt by — I will remain faithful to the pursuit of others, striving to show them the same love that Christ has for me.
It doesn’t matter how many things have not yet been healed, how many prayers have not yet been answered — I will remain faithful in prayer, faithful to God and trusting in His faithfulness to me.
How long will I remain faithful to these things? Until God shows me a different way.
This is the long, arduous walk of faithfulness that is bound to take me through thorns and thistles. And this is the long, arduous walk of faithfulness that God has revealed Himself in as I find His hand ever reaching for mine in the dark.
Make me into an Isaiah, I pray. Let me be faithful, too.
You are, my child, He says. Persevere and walk on.
I’m sure some of you wouldn’t be too surprised upon hearing that I love to journal. Just about every day for the past four years, I’ve been writing down my thoughts, feelings, prayers, and accounts of my life in journals of all shapes and sizes. These are my sacred writings; I don’t dare show anyone what I dutifully write. But every now and then I find myself writing things that seem like they ought to be shared. Today is one of those days. I hope you are encouraged as I was just a moment ago when I found these words my hands and heart collectively turned into a declaration of hope.
May 6, 2014
“Therefore we do not lost heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17)
Lord, I want to live with faith in this verse. I want to believe that my momentary troubles are achieving an eternal glory for me. It’s hard because I can’t see that glory in whole, but maybe I am being shown glimpses. Maybe part of the eternal glory is the tears and smiles of friendship bonded by wounds and struggles. Maybe it’s also found in the relief and rest that comes from being beautifully flawed and wonderfully accepted by another. Maybe that glory is also found in the cry of my heart to fix the pain of this world. Maybe it’s in the daily renewal of my heart and the way I’m still hungry for you each morning after all this time. The beautiful things of this world scream of you and of your grace. Would I have or appreciate any of these things without the momentary troubles or grievances?
And the best part is that these things don’t even come close to the true eternal glory only found in heaven. We’ve only just peeked at the surface of it all. If I can make it through today and the next day and then the day after that, then perhaps I really can make it to that eternal glory. Day by day you renew me and give me just the right ounce of strength to press on in this fight and messy life. I’m looking forward to the eternal glory, but the stuff that leads up to it is not a waste. There’s no need to lose heart when you’re gently leading me there. You are achieving that glory for me. You are truly a good, loving Father.