Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
Crisis situations often make us wonder if God sees our suffering or hears our cries. God can seem distant and unconcerned with our troubles. But Scripture shows us over and over that nothing could be further from the truth.
Joseph must have wondered if God cared about his ordeals as he was carried off into slavery and again as he languished in prison. He must have questioned why God would allow his brothers to sell him into slavery, why the lies of Potiphar's wife could land him in prison, and how Pharaoh's cupbearer could forget him for two years. But all along, God was weaving these events into a tapestry that only He could see. In time, God revealed his design to Joseph, so that he could tell his now fearful brothers, "You intended to harm me but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." [Genesis 50:20]
The Israelites groaned in their slavery for 400 years, likely wondering if God had forgotten them. They had no idea that God was building them into a nation within the relative safety (though difficult) of the borders of Egypt. He made their women so fruitful in childbirth that the Egyptians came to fear them because of their numbers. God had a master plan that included the punishment of the sin of the Amorites as well as the establishment of Israel (Genesis 15). When the time was right, God raised up Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, telling Moses, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt, I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering." [Exodus 3:7]
We could go on about how God raised up Israel's greatest judge, Samuel, in response to the distraught pleas of a barren woman; how He heard David's entreaties for the baby born out of his adultery with Bathsheba and responded by providing another child who became Israel's wisest king; how He used the martyrdom of Stephen to launch a missionary movement that changed the world.
Our trials are unlikely to have such earth-shaking impact. But God can use them to shape us and to impact those around us, if in our prayers we can move beyond ourselves to long for God's glory above all. The one who prays, "God, heal me" can see only a yes or not to that prayer. But the one who prays, "God, use this" opens the door to virtually unlimited answers.