Recently, fellow Our Words Collaborative writer, Ari Heick, wrote about the word God gave her for 2016, “relentless,” and how she is coming to understand this in a more expansive way: “God will answer my prayers and will fight all my battles for me. I need only to be still. I need only to be relentless in my pursuit of Him. I can let go of everything else without any guilt or shame. I am who God created me to be and there is no condemnation in that. I will release my worries to God. I will stop striving. I will stop trying to fix things or control things…”
Her devotional resonated deeply, and also reminded me of God’s word for us this year – breakthrough. He revealed it on a crisp autumn day. Mom and I drove with Nai to The Healing Rooms in Chevy Chase, MD. We were seeking prayer and healing for her. You see, the words do not always flow easily for our little one. She struggles to express herself verbally and for the past few years, as we cheer her on in speech and occupational therapy, we pray for deliverence, the complete unlocking of her voice.
This journey teaches us daily to embrace compassion, and see not with earthly eyes but spiritual ones, pressing through with unshakable faith. Often, friends, the experiences you and I label “mundane” such as conversations and self expression are miracles for others.
And so, on this brisk Saturday, a beautiful young African woman with skin the color of mahogany, ran up to us after our prayer, as Nai bounced around on the church playground, and insisted with quiet conviction, “God has a word for you all – it is breakthrough.” While the volunteers were praying for us, she said, “I prayed, too.” God had told her a breakthrough was coming not only for our precious Nai, but the entire family. Immediately, I ran and told Mom, my voice overcome with ecstatic delight, and soon after I texted my husband and two sisters, ending each sentence with exclamation points and joyful emojis.
For months I held on to this word, and then life, in all of its unjust fury, nearly trampled us. Frequent setbacks in various areas threaten to obscure our vision, but still, we press on and believe. Not long ago, I discovered a beautiful song by gospel singer and pastor Travis Greene, “The Hill.” Towards the end as he recounts several astounding testimonies, he says something which I now hold close to my heart: “Trust God too much to give up.”
Whatever word or purpose God has given you, friends, do not release it, pull it closer to you and declare this promise over every area of your life. Mom often reminds me, particularly during periods of frustration or despair, God must do a work in us and this takes time. Perhaps instead of a large breakthrough, in His infinite grace, God creates a series of breakthroughs, growing us spiritually, situation by situation, moment by moment.
One day while reading the book of Luke (18: 1-8), I discovered a persistent woman and in her tenaciousness and grit, I see myself. Maybe you find yourself in her as well? She is the widow who presses the judge relentlessly for a solution:
“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Mancomes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Do not lose heart, no matter how large the mountain looms, or what the doctor gloomily reports. Above all, beloveds, believe God, for He alone is faithful and will deliver each of us from many obstacles, transforming them into opportunities for His presence to become magnified.
Help me to shut out every voice and listen only for yours. Allow my days to be guided by your wisdom and direction, not consumed by worry and fear. Let me hear your words in nature, through people I meet, and allow me to see others as you see them – liberated and whole.
Open my heart to your grace, and forgive me for succumbing to weariness. I speak Jeremiah 29:11 over every challenge I encounter: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
In Jesus mighty name, I pray, Amen.
Previously published at Our Words Collaborative where I am a monthly contributor, along with a tribe of other writers.