Yes and Amen: letting prayer grow our trust and break our doubt

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He is teaching me, through the strained-neck searching for what’s around the bend, to trust His timing and plan.

Not even a decade ago, it felt simple to know my needs would be met. Protected under my childhood roof, seated at an abundant table, living off the fruits of my family’s labor, I didn’t know I was needy for God’s provision. I didn’t realize that God Himself is my Stability.

It’s experience that breeds understanding. As the stakes have grown higher, the costs greater, the certainty of things less so, He’s been sharpening my eyes to see His hand.

To say I’ve seen Him provide might sound audacious, or too simple in the minor scale of things—the daily experience of food on the table and a roof over the head. But I’m seeing it. This daily manna. It’s in the fiftieth job application sent out with prayer, waiting for the email response. It’s in the mountain of debt delayed for a time, unsure when the salary will outweigh the payments.

It’s in the shadow-eyed search for an apartment, believing that a space will be provided.

He did this. He opened His mighty hand and provided. And it’s one of my favorite stories. A memory to look on as a time He did what people said He wouldn’t do—and in turn be so, so thankful.

Two years ago, my husband and I were engaged and looking for our first home. And I had big dreams. In college, I spent a year on the third floor of a centuries-old rental, replete with thickly laid trim and old-fashioned, transom windows. The floors creaked and the boards were warped, and the long living room windows let in the happiest light. The romantic in me saw it as the best place to be—a model for all the homes I’d have in the future.

So when my fiancé and I began looking for an apartment, I immediately started dreaming of an old little space full of character.

When we landed in a cookie-cutter apartment within a multiple-acre complex, I was less than excited. Honestly, I was unsatisfied and sour about the outcome. But, after a friend flew in and helped me fill it with dishes and linens and decorative things, it did begin to feel like home. But when I got a call from my fiancé—him having moved in first—that cockroaches were scaling the walls (and his legs), I was only slightly disappointed.

All my dreams for a homey space came flooding back.

But the weeks of extensive apartment searching that followed dimmed my excitement for a new place. Every night we’d fold open the laptop and stare hollow-eyed at the myriad listings. And we could feel our time running low, the wedding getting closer. The timer steadily clicking off seconds—nervously close to the reckoning “0:00.”

And, throughout it all, I maintained that desire for a little old place with character. So I prayed for it. As the clouds of fear and doubt subsided, I began to trust that God would provide us our perfect space—character and all.

People let me know I shouldn’t hold any hope for it. Little words and phrases to limit my expectations and cushion my fall. But, for whatever reason, I felt confident that God could do it, if He wanted. It was a desire, not a need. I knew that. But why not take it to God? Let Him see this silly desire that meant so much and entrust it to Him?

We were late to one apartment viewing, cruising in the maroon Ford Escape as evening came. I was feeling annoyed that we were putting the landlord out, generally feeling unexcited to be visiting one more place. The pictures online had not been promising—the cluttered décor had been hard to overlook—but here we were, Google-mapping our way down unfamiliar roads once again. We roadside parked and felt surprisingly pleased with the exterior. An old-fashioned brick building with only six apartments—quaint red awnings above the front doors.

We walked up to the front door, and there—scrawled onto the #4 unit mailbox—was the name of a friend of mine. In that moment, that millisecond of time, it seemed so evident that God was here, directing us to this place.

We ended up signing the lease that day.

When I peak back into those days, everything seems so perfectly orchestrated. The way He waited, held out on the giving, until we had to trust that He would come through—or else let us go without. The way He provided us a space so sweet and character-filled that I couldn’t have thought to pray for it. He grew my faith tenfold that day—us climbing the creaky stairs into the flat, me gawking at the built-in bookshelves and old phone station, marveling that God had answered my prayer so thoughtfully.

God didn’t have to give me my desire. But He did. I look back on that time as a catalyst for stronger faith. He showed me His power in that sweet display of omnipotence. The gracious way He held out the giving until the perfect time. Delayed the rain until the seeds were set.

It has even paved in me an understanding of His “no’s.” This seeing, powerful God has a will far above my ability to understand. When my “good thing” goes unmet, I trust He has something better in mind.

Trust this Provider today, friends. Trust Him with “unrealistic,” “unlikely” things and watch the way He works. He wants us to ask. Don’t just ask for the safe things.

We serve a big, big God. So we can pray big prayers and leave the answers up to Him.

 

 

 

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