I have been a Christian for a long time – so long that I couldn’t even tell you the year of my childhood that it occurred. I have known who God is, and I thought that I believed that He is good, sovereign, and wise. But several years ago, I went through a season of the greatest soul wrestling I have ever experienced. Did I really believe everything that I said I believed? Was I living in accordance with my beliefs? Did I actually trust Him – I mean, really, trust Him?
Once I realized how much I struggled to believe what I said I believed, I felt lost in a wilderness of doubt. I sought counsel. I was sleepless. And I prayed constantly. My prayers were filled with good things. I prayed that God would help me to trust Him; that He would build up faith in me; that I would believe in His love and perfect sovereign control; that He would give me eyes to see and ears to hear; that He would put people in my life who would help guide me. I begged God to work in my heart, and help me to know Him better.
Change did come but it was painful and agonizingly slow. It was my very own wilderness experience where He was teaching me to rely on Him, and to trust Him for my every need. And sometimes it felt like it took 40 years to get through it.
But it (thankfully) didn't take 40 years. Three years after I started praying those prayers, I now see God’s hand working through all of it. I see how God used that period of struggle to create depth in my faith. Sometimes God answers our prayers, but it doesn't feel like He has answered them because we didn't get what we explicitly asked for. When I prayed for strength, He showed me my weakness. When I prayed for faith, I wrestled with doubt. When I prayed to know Him better, I saw how little of Him I really knew.
But God was still in the opposites. He wanted me to know that I didn’t have to be so strong - and, in fact, His light shines through us best in our weakness; He wanted me to learn how to trust in the face of great doubt (not provide me an absence of doubt); He wanted me to know that even when I am unsure of who He is, He is God and He never changes. He is good and He is always working on my behalf, even when I am filled with questions and uncertainty.
He is always the same.
God has changed me so much through my prayers; and revealed so much of Himself to me in answer to my prayers. It wasn’t quick or painless, and it didn’t feel like He was answering for a very long time, but He is faithful.
The message I leave you with is this: Wherever you are right now, whatever darkness surrounds you, keep seeking Him and keep praying. Don't give up.
In Him who is worthy of all our trust,