Several years ago I was believing for a miracle I felt completely sure God asked me to pray for, more sure than I have about anything else in my life. For a year I prayed and prayed and believed and believed. During that time the song Oceans became my anthem. Specifically the lines that say:
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders...
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger...
I thought that when God would do this miracle my faith would be deepened and strengthened. I thought seeing this miracle would be the thing that would take my trust in Him to the ultimate heights. I knew he had asked me to pray for this thing and I thought it would be the thing that would lead me to borderless trust and to a place of faith in Him I had yet to experience.
But that miracle never happened.
Heartbreak set in, disappointment overwhelmed me. I went to a bad, broken, dark place for a long time. I couldn't pray, go to church or hear anything about Jesus for years. I was angry and hurt. More than anything I was so lost -
How do you live when it feels like the thing you lived for abandons you?
I wasn't able to listen to that song for a long time. But yesterday it came on the radio and those lines hit me in a different way. I prayed so many times that my faith would deepen and strengthen, that it would go to new heights and new depths. Little did I realize that the very thing that would do that was my miracle not happening.
I believe God can do miracles. That's not a hard thing for me to believe. The hard thing to believe, for me, is will he? And what happens when he doesn't? I can't pretend to know all of the answers. But what I do know, is that he can use the darkest times, the unanswered prayers, the miracles that never happened to be the very thing that strengthens and deepens our faith.
In church this past Sunday, one of the elders was speaking about the Israelites and their continued lack of faith in God. He said he was talking to God and asked "why couldn't you just give them eyes to see and ears to hear?" God simply replied with "because I gave them free will". He went on to say that sometimes we have to will ourselves to have eyes to see and ears to hear. And man did that hit me and sum up my healing journey from all of this. I went from believing God, hearing God, trusting him completely and totally to Him feeling completely gone, me feeling completely abandoned. I could have easily stayed in that darkness. I could have easily said God is a liar and chosen to live my life with out him. But what I experienced during that time - living a life with out him - was far worse and more painful than any confusion and heart ache I felt from Him.
It was no easy road, but I was determined to find Jesus again. It took my heart and spirit years to find him again. But it did. And somehow it learned to trust in Him again. Somehow I was able to place everything back in his hands and say "I follow you no matter what". To CHOSE to trust Him again after I felt He could no longer be trusted was the very thing that took my Spirit to trust him with out borders, my faith to be made stronger. My feet traveled much further than I ever expected they would ever have to - to dark and lonely places - but I learned that trusting him, even when it doesn't make sense, is so much better than living a life void of Him.