Asking For Greater Faith & Joy
Have you ever prayed for something and seen God answer in a mighty way? It’s wonderful, isn’t it? But then, as time goes on, have you found yourself resenting or feeling weighed down by the very thing for which you prayed? Let me explain my experience, and maybe it will make sense.
Recently, while reading through Exodus, I was struck by how God’s blessing can quickly be followed by one of two responses: grumbling and division or faith and obedience. Days after God’s mighty deliverance from Egypt, the Israelites were grumbling and wanting to turn back. This was convicting and made me think about my life. Almost ten years ago we left for Portugal. We prayed fervently that God would help us reach people and plant churches. In amazing ways, God has answered that prayer: He has sent many people, established a church, and begun a work among the deaf. But with these answers to prayer, I sometimes find myself grumbling.
- I long for people to respond to the gospel, and then resent having to love and care for those people’s problems and hurts.
- I pray for a church, and then grumble about the people in it.
- I get frustrated about investing so much time and effort in a person who falls away, while I fail to see the good things God is doing in so many other people’s lives.
- I treat the work God has given me as a burden rather than as a privilege and calling.
Now before you think we are in despair and full of bitterness, know that we really are doing well. Each stage of life and ministry has its special challenges, and I am growing more aware of how these attitudes can creep into my life if I am not careful. Pray that God will protect us and give us joy and confidence in Him. Now… back to our regularly scheduled programming.
- In two weeks, I am leading a team from our church on a mission trip to North Africa. We are praying that God will help us reach out and grow in our giving to missions. Pray for our team that our trip will be fruitful.
- Three men from the church started taking classes at the seminary. I praise God for their eagerness to study the Bible and to grow in their abilities to serve the church. Pray for Filipe, Carlos, and Leandro that God will help them persevere in their studies and grow in grace and knowledge. Pray for me as I continue teaching Old Testament at the seminary as well.
- Our co-worker, Amanda, is teaching a sign language class to a group of 10-12 hearing people in our church. This is a wonderful opportunity, and we are praying that God will use this class to raise up more people to reach the deaf.
- Very soon, five or six teenagers in the church will be baptized. It is exciting to see them grow in their faith and in their eagerness to give a public testimony of their faith through baptism.