Step by Step
July 23, 2019
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6, ESV).
We all have different methods in our daily intercessory prayers. I pray geographically for those I know around the country. Some folk stay on my geographic list a long time and I hear nothing from them. I was praying for Ken yesterday morning as I have been for many years. Not hearing from him for months and receiving only an answering machine message when I called, I asked the Lord, “Please let Ken call me today since I cannot reach him.” Sure enough, Ken called this evening, and the reconnection was made—and God told me, “Continue.”
Many of us have long-term prayers that seem to go nowhere. And then, God does something that keeps us praying. The more I look back on my life of service for Christ, the more I understand that the long-term view is God’s view. Certainly, it was God’s view when He told Isaiah that His people must be broken for centuries before the Messiah would come (Isaiah 6:9-13). And it often turns out to be the same for those for whom we pray.
I suspect that’s what’s happening with the amazing fruit we are just now seeing after 25 years of medical ministry in the Balkans.
I suspect it will be the same for my friend above, whom God will not drop from my prayers and from His plan.
I suspect it’s the same for God’s work in my own life. God is taking His time in changing me into His likeness. For all of us, God mostly uses fine sand paper in the shaping of our lives, though His painful chisel occasionally strikes a stubborn piece of marble.
I guess the key word is perseverance—perseverance in ministry, perseverance in prayer, perseverance in hope, perseverance in God-driven action, perseverance in my desire to change. God most often changes those He loves with small steps over long periods of time. My greatest task is to hang in there with Him and trust Him as He works.
“Sometimes when we read the words of those who have been more than conquerors, we feel almost despondent. ‘I feel that I shall never be like that.’ But they won through step by step, by little bits of wills, little denials of self, little inward victories. By faithfulness in very little things they became what they are. No one sees these little hidden steps. They only see the accomplishment, but even so, those small steps were taken.” – Amy Carmichael
Help me to be patient and to persevere in Your service.