Today’s post is written by Terry Gassett, a new friend of mine. In her true story, she shares a difficult prayer-struggle she had with God, the amazing gift she received by respecting his denial of her request, and the lessons she learned. I invite you to read her story; I believe you will gain a fresh appreciation for how God rewards those who struggle in prayer. To learn more about Terry, follow this link to her website. http://www.heretotherelifecoaching.com/
What God Did As I Stood Still
Each morning I am given a gift—an invitation to spend time in intimate fellowship with OUR Father through the Word and Prayer. I am invited to share my heart with Him and listen as He shares His.
Over the years, I have poured out my heart to God in prayer. I have prayed long prayers, short prayers, passionate prayers, bold prayers, and even at times fearful prayers. I have also prayed desperately, begging God for things I wanted and that He chose not to give me, but instead receiving from his hand better things that I had not even known to ask for.
Many years ago, my husband was serving as full-time pastor at a small church in Natchez, MS. He received a call to come and serve a congregation in Chalmette, Louisiana (a suburb of New Orleans) where I had grown up. Although we had moved away from New Orleans shortly after we were married – I had spent almost every waking moment praying to The Lord to move us back! I had never lost my love for the city or for its people, many of whom were like family. I was elated at the news of the call and thought that The Lord was ﬁnally answering my many “begging” prayers to move back home.
We went down to New Orleans as a family, met, talked and prayed with the congregation for God’s guidance. To my dismay, my husband announced to me, shortly after the prayer time, that he had heard an almost audible NO in answer to our prayer for guidance. I didn’t want to admit it at the time, but I too felt like God was saying NO.
Both of us wanted to be sure of God’s answer, so we went home and prayed some more. I prayed fervently, wanting so desperately to hear a resounding “YES.” I wanted to go back home. BUT, it still seemed to both of us that God was saying NO. This was terribly confusing, as the timing and circumstances seemed right, and on top of that, God had opened a door hadn’t He?
I asked God to speak to my both my husband and I in a clear way, with a clear answer, in a way that we each could understand, and had this recurring dream:
Night after night, I saw the city of New Orleans ﬂooded and in ruins, with thousands of people stranded. I saw our own family, walking in knee deep, muddy waters, unable to get to safety. Though I did not understand what these dreams meant, I did know that through them The Lord was warning us not to go. These dreams coupled with the almost audible NO my husband had heard, led us to turn down the call.
For a year, I grieved what might have been. I was angry at God for opening a door only to close it. I didn’t understand what his purpose(s) could possibly be for doing this.
As I brought my WHY questions before the Lord, he remained silent for that year; then, in his timing He spoke to me through the scripture which reads “Stand Still and See the Salvation of The Lord.” Exodus 14:13.
It wasn’t until three years later that hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. In the aftermath of the storm, the levees broke and the city was flooded. My friends all lost their homes, some even lost their lives.
Chalmette, which had never before flooded, was flooded as well. Had we gone, we too, would have lost our home, our church, and possibly even our lives.
Words cannot express the mixed emotions I felt at the time; grief over the disaster that had fallen on my beloved City, overwhelming heartbreak for those who were suffering greatly, survivor’s guilt, and gratitude. Gratitude to MY FATHER who remained faithful to answer my prayer, not in the way I envisioned, but in a way that was in accordance with His will and was for my good!
I think it was then, that I learned some lessons in prayer that will stick with me for life.
- I learned that prayer flows out of our relationship with Our Loving Father, who desires and delights in giving us good gifts.
- I learned that prayer is a two-way conversation, not a one way wish list.
- I learned that I must listen, as much, if not more, than I talk.
- I learned that if I stand still and let God be God, He will show me His salvation each and every time.