It was the summer of 2001 and my six year old self was already dreaming of the beautifully wrapped presents underneath the Christmas tree that was still months and months away. Every Sunday, my grandmother would bring my mom advertisements, coupons, and magazines that she would receive in the mail. Most of the time, my two younger sisters and I would swipe the magazines and advertisements and look at the toys and would show mom and dad what we wanted for our birthdays or for Christmas; whichever came first. One Sunday as I was looking through a magazine, I found a doll that I really really wanted! The doll was dressed as a ballerina with a pink leotard and tutu, her hair was blonde and curly, and there were straps on her feet that you could strap to your ankles and you could dance ballet together. I had never seen a doll like her, and loving ballet as much as I did, I fell in love with her! I immediately ran to show her to my dad and excitedly told him how much I wanted her. Everyday for the rest of that week whenever I reminded him of that doll, he smiled and said, “Hope, if you really want her and if God wants you to have her, then pray that God would get her for you.” And I did just that! Everyday and in every prayer that I prayed for months and months, at breakfast, at lunch, at dinner, and at bedtime I asked God for “my big ballerina doll”.
Christmas morning finally arrived and I was more excited than ever to open presents! As I remember that day, I didn’t even worry about, “what if I didn’t get the doll?” My only thought was, “I can’t wait to play with my doll!” As fast as my little heart was beating, I opened and tore through every one of my presents, but there was no doll. As I opened my last gift under the tree, hints of disappointment and worry started to overcome my mind. I opened all of my gifts and the doll wasn’t one of them. As I sat in the midst of piles and piles of torn wrapping paper, Dad walked over and sat beside me on the floor. “Hope, have you been praying for that ballerina doll?” I felt my eyes start to water, but shook it off, “I have but God didn’t get me her.” Dad stood up and walked out of the room and a few minutes later returned with a big box wrapped in pink paper. He put it at my feet with a huge smile on his face. I tore through the paper as fast as my little hands could and to my surprise found that it was the big ballerina doll!
Hebrews 11:1 – Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.
10 years flew by and my prayers and cares changed slightly. They weren’t about dolls or for any extra toys. I started to feel lonely as I waited for true love; I prayed everyday for my future husband and that he would come soon. I often felt discouraged that I was waiting and praying for something that would never happen or come. One day I was talking with my dad, telling him how lonely I was and how hard it was and is to be patient. Dad looked at me and asked, “Have you been praying for that man God has for you?” “Of course, I have! It’s just hard seeing how guys only go for girls who dress immodestly and act inappropriate to get attention. I don’t want to do that, but it’s hard to not act seeing how easy it would be for me to do those things. I don’t want that kind of attention.” Dad smiled and grabbed my hand, “Do you remember how you prayed for that big ballerina doll? How you constantly asked me for her? What did I tell you to do?” “You told me to pray for her.” “Exactly,” dad replied, “But what you don’t know is that the very first time you asked me for the doll, that very day I ordered it and had it for months and months until you opened it on Christmas day. I wanted to give it to you everyday you asked me for her, but why do you think that I didn’t?” “Because it was a Christmas present and you needed to wait?” I questioned. Dad shook his head, “No, it is because I wanted to see if your desire for it would increase your faith in prayer. You prayed for that doll for months and months when it was sitting in the next room. You were asking God for her and didn’t even know that I already had her waiting for you.” At that moment I realized what it all meant. Dad hugged me and said, “Hope, just because you don’t see it now doesn’t mean that God doesn’t have it for you. Stay faithful and hopeful and joyful in the waiting. Just like when you got that doll and you were so excited, I was even more excited to give it to you! God is the same way with that man for you. He is waiting to give you the love that you’ve been praying for all this time, but have faith and trust in His timing.”
Even as a little girl, my dad raised me to have faith in Jesus and in the power of prayer! No, God doesn’t always answer with a Yes, but even in His No, there is promised to be a better Yes coming soon.
James 2:17 – thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Hebrews 11:6 – Without faith it’s impossible to please God
We are not called not only to have faith, but to act in it! Why…because it pleases God.
As a little girl and even now, I had faith that God would and will answer my prayers, but in believing I am called to act in prayer! We all desire things from the Lord, but His No or Wait comes when He sees that our value of the answered prayer does not meet the desire.
Faith is not only believing in an invisible God, or trusting that He will do what He has promised to do…but it is also the act of surrender to your own personal logic and reasoning, just like Abraham, Noah, Joshua, etc. for example.
Abraham was an old man and according to man’s logic, he was unable to have a family, but because of his faithfulness and obedience, He was given the son that He was promised.
Noah built a boat in the middle of nowhere in a time that man didn’t know rain and because of his faithfulness and obedience, him and his family was saved.
Joshua lead hundreds of millions of salves who were unskilled and and not knowledgeable of warfare into the middle of the wilderness to take the Promised Land. Because of his obedience and faithfulness, with nothing but shouts and walking around a wall for days, Joshua and his people took the Promised Land into their hands.
In Matthew 14:22-33, it shares the story of Peter walking on the water to Jesus in the midst of a storm. Rather than remaining in the boat, the most logical safe place to be in the middle of the sea during a storm, Peter called out to Jesus because he knew that to be with Jesus on the water during the storm was the safest place to be. With his eyes fixed on Jesus he was able to conquer the storm and to walk to Jesus, but as soon as he gave into the thoughts and fears of the circumstances and the environment around him, he sank. Fear is not only the absence of faith, but a perverted focus on self; focusing on man and circumstances rather than God. Rather than staying fixed on Jesus, Peter looked to the storm surrounding Him. Fear is giving into the carnal, being guided by feelings and the carnal nature rather than the spirit.
So how does faith come….
Romans 10:17 – Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of God.
Our faith in Christ is increased by hearing and reading stories in scripture just like Abraham, Noah, Joshua, and Peter. Men who according to man’s logic performed impossible feats, but in Jesus was made possible!
Let me just tell you in case you didn’t or don’t know….walking by faith and fully trusting God is not easy or comfortable, but it isn’t meant to be!
Are you comfortable in your walk with Christ?
Question, If you are comfortable with your walk with Christ, are you sure that you’re walking with Him? If you cannot answer that question right now, go and read any story in the bible where a man or woman walked with the Lord and ask yourself if their walk was ever a walk through the park? Sure, if you look at the disciples and how they physically walked with the Lord it must’ve been wonderful, but it was hard! They were called to leave everything that they knew and loved to follow Jesus; no bed, no food, no money, just to follow Jesus. Or Abraham, his promised son God asked him to offer as a sacrifice! Noah had to live on a massive boat for days and days with thousands of stinky animals with nothing but water as far as the eye could see. Joshua had to lead millions of men who only farmed and carved into battle! Peter was constantly imprisoned, beaten, and even killed. Walking with Jesus isn’t a stroll through the park, but He does promise that as we walk through those valleys, He will be with us!
Is your walk inspiring those around you to step out on the raging waters and to draw close to Jesus?
Peter walked on the water to Jesus while the other disciples remained in the boat to look on and watch. Does your walk and fellowship with Christ make others want to walk that hard road with you in joy, or to remain in the boat in fear?
Are you comfortable being a bench-warmer, and watching from the boat?
We aren’t called to live a comfortable life, but to walk in faith. In faith, you not only conquer life’s storms, but you can do what Jesus is doing and join Him in what he is doing around you! Be obedient and faithful!
~ God’s Little Pencil