You’re out of your mind.
That’s what the people inside the house said to the housekeeper when she alerted them Peter was at the door. Peter had been in jail surrounded by several guards when an angel came and told him to get up. His chains fell off and he left unscathed.
The church had been praying earnestly to God for Peter. Earnestly. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary says the word earnest proceeds from an “intense and serious state of mind.” In other words, they weren’t praying lightly or casually. They were serious. And yet when Peter showed up at the door, they didn’t believe it.
As Warren asked us yesterday… What do we expect? When we come before the God of the universe, what do we expect?
I was thinking about that. I think some of us may be under the impression miracles are few and far between. They happened back then, but for us in 2017, they just don’t anymore. Or we come before God feeling insecure. We feel unworthy. Why would God want to do this for me? Sometimes when we’re praying, it’s like our hearts and minds are already made up. It’s hopeless. It’s over.
In Hebrews, it says to come boldly before the throne. Boldly. Courageously. It doesn’t say come timidly or fearfully. I once heard someone say they felt God was urging them to ask for bigger things. To expect more. As Warren mentioned, this doesn’t mean we should pray to win the lottery and expect it to happen. Or ask for a Ferrari and expect it to appear in our driveway. But it does mean we should be bold when we pray. After all, He is the God of the impossible. What’s impossible for us as humans is never impossible for God. He’s unstoppable. He’s the ruler of all.
On the flip-side of praying for something we consider highly important or pressing, I believe we should also pray and talk to God about the simple things. It may seem strange, but God cares about every aspect of our lives. He loves us. He wants to know us. For example, if I’m feeling under the weather and there’s something I need to get done, I ask God to help me. It took a little getting used to, and it felt even a little silly at times, but now I can’t imagine not doing those things.
So what is it you’d like to pray earnestly for? And what are you expecting? God doesn’t always say yes to everything, but he always answers.
Have you ever found yourself praying and you don’t notice any changes? I’ve been in that situation. It can be easy to get discouraged. As I’m starting to learn, those things all help grow our faith. We have to hold on even when it’s hard. We have to live by faith and not by sight.
If you didn’t hear Warren’s message yesterday, I’d encourage you to take a listen. The personal story he shared at the end was incredible. What a great testament to God’s faithfulness and how he develops us through difficult situations.
What Warren shared with you all inspired me to share something as well. And I tell you this because what happened to that young boy was a miracle. And what happened to me is a miracle as well. I want you to know miracles do happen! They absolutely do. I think there are more out there than we even know about. People might keep their stories to themselves because they worry others may respond the same way those inside the house did when Peter showed up. Don’t be afraid. We need to hear more of those amazing things.
I won’t tell you everything because that could take a while, but I will tell you this: My husband and I are expecting a baby this spring. If it wasn’t for God’s gracious intervention, this would not be the case.
I had an early ultrasound just to be sure everything was looking good and all was on track. I expected to hear a wonderful report and leave feeling warm and fuzzy. Instead, I was told the baby was in a dangerous place. A place where if it stayed that way, it would be dangerous for me to stay pregnant… If the baby didn’t move and grew in that spot, it would be potentially fatal to me.
I went home feeling distraught beyond what I’ve ever felt. I prayed and prayed. And I prayed earnestly. Others prayed for me as well. I had my first ultrasound on a Friday. My doctor asked I come back Monday for another because of the situation.
When she finished and sat down with us, she told us it looked completely different. There had been a vast improvement. She also told me if it had looked the same, she would have had to operate on me. There would have been no hesitation.
I left feeling overjoyed. I cried happy tears the whole way home.
Over the next weeks, I had more ultrasounds. I was surprised to learn I had to see a specialist because they still felt uncertain about the baby’s position. They didn’t know if I was completely in the clear.
That was difficult, but every part of what I went through helped my faith grow. I hung on to what I believed. Every time I felt doubt enter my mind, I prayed or reminded myself of what God had already done for me.
The specialist ultrasound appointment went extremely well. They told us everything looked completely normal. It’s funny how sometimes the word normal means everything.
About a week later, I had another ultrasound with my regular clinic. The ultrasound tech and I got to know each other pretty well, and as soon as she got an image of the baby, she said to me… This is completely different. It’s 100 percent better. I felt tears come to my eyes and I said, well we prayed really hard. And she said… well it worked because this is incredible. I told her I knew it was going to be good, it was just a matter of time.
I recently saw a picture on singer Natalie Grant’s Instagram that touched me. She was about to have surgery and wrote something I found very powerful. And coming from someone in her position, it probably took great faith to write these words…
“My outcome does not determine His goodness.”
And along with the picture of those words, she wrote this: “These are the words I wanted to declare BEFORE my surgery last week, before the result, the answer or the outcome – GOD IS GOOD. So I wrote them down. ❤️Thank you for your faithful prayers. I wanted to give you a pathology update: I’ve made a video that is posted on my Facebook, and you can click the link here in my Instagram profile or go to facebook.com/nataliegrantmusic to view it. As you know, last Tuesday I had surgery to remove the right half of my thyroid. Pathology has confirmed that it is papillary thyroid cancer. However, when they removed the right side, they took ALL OF THE CANCER WITH IT! The cancer was completely encapsulated inside the 2 nodules and never left, there was no branch out and no growth. And every piece of tissue they tested around the tumors, as well as neighboring lymph nodes are totally clear of cancer and cancerous cells. HALLELUJAH!” (Natalie Grant, Instagram)
God could have said no to me. He could have said no about the little boy Warren talked about. He could have said no to Natalie. And God doesn’t say no because He doesn’t love us or care. And if he does say no, He’s still going to take care of you. He’ll get you through. A lot of people much older and wiser than myself have told me they don’t regret the hard times. They’re thankful for what God showed them. They’re a different person because of what they went through.
So miracles do happen! Isn’t it funny we wouldn’t expect great things from the God of the universe? That we would doubt? That we would feel insecure? As humans, it’s a part of who we are. We might get it right one day, but the next is the complete opposite. We’re going to have feelings and emotions. It’s a part of life. The good news is we don’t have to carry it. We can lean on God and trust in Him. We can trust He will provide the best outcome for us. Pray earnestly. Don’t give up. Expect God to answer.