Have you ever been in a season of waiting? I’ve been there recently, and I have to admit that I’m not as patient as I’d like to be. But in the midst of the questioning and yearning to take matters into my own hands, God has reminded me over and over that He is faithful. He is good. And He can be trusted.
This is exactly the topic that my guest, Debbie Wilson, is addressing today.* Debbie is the author of Little Faith, Big God (Don’t you love that title?!), and she has wise words on how to trust God when our prayers go unanswered. I hope she encourages you as much as she has me.
How do we trust God when our prayers seem to go unanswered? My friend and I prayed for her teenaged children who were rebelling against her faith and values. Nothing she did seemed to reach them. One day while reading the Bible she came across a verse that resonated with her.
This is what the Lord says: ‘Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded,’ declares the Lord. ‘They will return from the land of the enemy. So there is hope for your descendants,’ declares the Lord. ‘Your children will return to their own land’” (Jer. 31:16-17 NIV).
My friend believed this was God’s promise to her. She repeated, “They will return,” to herself when their behavior worsened. This word from God boosted her faith whenever she was tempted to worry.
Abraham and Sarah are an Old Testament couple who also found hope in a promise from God. When their circumstances contradicted the promise, they trusted God to keep His promise.
This couple had tried for decades to have a child with no success. Sarah was infertile. Imagine their surprise when God approached Abraham when he was pushing 100 years and said Sarah would give birth to a son.
As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her” (Gen. 17:15-16 NIV).
Sarah was at least 89. If she couldn’t conceive during the normal childbearing years, how could she hope to conceive a child now?
Because God promised. Their hope was in His ability, not in their own.
Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed… Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised” (Rom. 4:18-21 NIV).
Abraham didn’t live in denial. He looked the facts squarely in the face and laughed. God sure had a sense of humor. He would bring a son out of his ancient body and Sarah’s dead womb!
At age 100 Abraham held his infant son in his arms. At age 90 Sarah sang lullabies as she nursed her newborn.
God fulfilled His promise to my friend too. Both of her children walk with the Lord and are raising their children in the Lord.
How do we trust God when our prayers seem to fall on deaf ears? We ask God for His perspective and then focus on His promise—not on what we see. Some of God’s promises—like Abraham being the father of many nations—are bigger than a lifetime. But He always keeps His promises.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Heb. 11:1 NIV).
Debbie W. Wilson is an experienced Bible study teacher, ministry leader, and speaker. She has 30 + years of expertise, training and teaching in the areas of relationships, Bible study, counseling, and discipleship. Known for her fresh insights and ability to make the Bible come alive, Debbie mixes wit, insight, and Spirit-filled encouragement to inspire her readers to trust God with their lives.
She and her husband, Larry, founded Lighthouse Ministries in 1991. Her years with Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) took her from Boston to Southern California with stops in Indiana and Oklahoma. They now live in North Carolina with their two standard poodles. Connect with Debbie at debbiewwilson.com.
About Little Faith, Big God
Let the ordinary people from Hebrews 11 inspire your faith and show you how to live strong and finish well.
God designed spiritual growth to be an ongoing journey of trust. By exploring the examples of biblical men and women who failed, got up again, finished well, and were commended by God, Little Faith, Big God will inspire you to persevere in your faith. Present-day stories and guiding questions invite personal reflection, application, and discussion. Little Faith, Big God will equip you to trade your self-made superhero cape for a dynamic, grace-filled relationship with our big God.
Delightful… I highly recommend Little Faith, Big God …” – Josh McDowell, Christian apologist and best-selling author of Evidence That Demands a Verdict