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Laurie Coombs Christian Blog and Commentary

Laurie Coombs

Laurie Coombs

Twenty-One Days

Daniel 1012There's an incredible account of God answering prayer in the tenth chapter of Daniel. I was amazed by it the other day and still am today. At first thought, most of us think only of Daniel in the lion's den when we think of the book of Daniel, but this book has many more gems to mine than we may know.

Now, I've always believed the truth taught in Daniel chapter ten conceptually, but even though I've read through this book several times before, I have never seen it for what it is. For some reason, I have been blind to what this passage shows us.

As you read through the book of Daniel, it seems Daniel sought the Lord continually, but at this particular time in his story, Daniel decided to fast. For three weeks, we're told, he "ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered [his] mouth." He was mourning, as he considered the hardships his people were going through in Judah, so he fasted and prayed on their behalf. And God responded.

This is what struck me.

As Daniel stood on the bank of the Tigris, he was confronted by an angel. “Fear not, Daniel," the angel said, "for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words" (v. 12, emphasis mine). The angel continued, "The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days..." (v. 13, emphasis mine).

Daniel tells us he'd been fasting and praying for three weeks. Twenty-one days

The angel tells us he'd been en route twenty-one daysFrom the first day that Daniel set his heart to understand and humbled himself before God.

The moment Daniel set his heart to seek God, God moved.

This is the God we serve. A God who hears our prayers, our heart's cry, the moment they're uttered. I believe this truth, and have for years now, but what amazes me is how this account gives a glimpse behind the curtain. Into the heavenlies. When we pray, this scripture tells us, things happen in the spiritual realm. God sets His angels in motion to work on our behalf.

And I think I'm so struck by this reality right now because I've seen this truth played out recently in my own life.

Three weeks before we received the call about our children in Ethiopia, I felt the Lord prompt me to fast. I asked my husband, Travis, if he'd join me, and he did. Every Monday, for three weeks, we fasted and prayed on behalf of our adoption. Twenty-one days. And on that third Monday, we received the call.

God had been whispering to me those three weeks, as He had many times before, telling me to activate my faith. Telling me to believe and to act on that belief. And all that time, He was moving. He had been working toward this moment for four and a half years at this point, but this was the final push, and I guarantee His angels were at work those twenty-one days, fighting for our children in Ethiopia. For our family.

From the first day that Travis and I set our heart to understand and humbled ourselves before God, our words were heard. Our prayers were heard, and God moved.

What is God calling you to pray for today?

Hold the faithAll it took was one word! How amazing is that?!?

I have to admit. The last few weeks have been a bit crazy here in the Coombs' household. Good crazy, but crazy nonetheless. I've been buried in piles of paperwork, all to bring our little ones home.

Now, I know it sounds super cliche, but God truly has done the impossible once again. "Shell-shocked... Speechless... Dumbfounded... Ecstatic... Terrified... These are but a few of the emotions that I have been experiencing these past 48 hours...." my husband Travis wrote after receiving the news. But in order to understand the significance of those words, I must tell more of our story.

We began our adoption journey four and a half years ago, full of hope and conviction for what we believed God was calling us to. Travis and I had been blessed with two healthy, absolutely amazing biological children already, but quite honestly, our family just didn't feel complete. Don't get me wrong, we were content with our family, but we wanted more little blessings.

Adoption has always been on our hearts. Both Travis and I have a heart for all children, but children who are mistreated, abandoned, or abused are hard for us to ignore. The plight of the "least of these" weighs heavy in our home. This is true even for our daughters.

I've mentioned before that our Ethiopian adoption was only supposed to take one to two years, but all along––beginning six months in––we've been met with one roadblock after another. Each time, I'd pray, "Lord, is this Your will? Are we on the right path?" And I'd be met with the words, "Do not give up!" We stayed the course despite the unpredictable, unstable adoption climate in Ethiopia, fully convinced that God would pull through. But then about one year ago, when confronted with yet another obstacle (and the possibility of seeing adoption close in Ethiopia altogether), something in my faith shifted, and for the first time, I began to wonder whether or not our adoption was going to happen. I heard God tell me, "Do not give up," once again, and so we stayed the course, but in my heart, I began to question what I heard.

At one point, desperately trying to cling to my hope and faith, I took out a little book with the word GRACE written on the cover. It's where I had written all evidences of God in my life, not just in our adoption, but in all things. I sat alone in bed, reading one "proof" after another, praying, "Is it going to happen? Have I simply fooled myself into believing this is your promise? Did I hear wrong?"

They were honest questions. My heart laid bare before my God. I felt like Hannah, pleading before God at the temple. "Please, Lord, if it is Your will, bring our children home that I may say 'for this child I prayed and the Lord has granted me my petition,' as Hannah said." I sat in prayer for a few minutes longer before I took that little book and threw it across the room. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit I did that, but I did.

I was confused. I wanted our children, and God was telling me they were coming, but it sure didn't seem like it at the time. I wondered if I was deceiving myself. And if I was deceived with our adoption, then who's to say I wasn't deceived across the board? Not seeing God's fruit in this one area of my life made me question the authenticity of my faith in the rest.

My struggles and the temptations to doubt came in waves. For the most part, I had faith. I believed God would do what I believed He said He would do. But I did have my moments. And then, Travis and I began fasting a couple months ago. I felt the Lord nudge me to fast on behalf of our children in Ethiopia, so I did. My faith was growing. Scripture after scripture was brought before me, and I believed that God was telling me to strengthen my faith. To not only believe in Him, but to believe Him. I felt He wanted me to activate my faith, to live like I knew it was going to happen, and so the girls and I went to our local library to do more research on Ethiopia. I came home telling Travis, "We need to get the girls their passports," and he looked at me a little sideways because you see, nothing had changed. There was absolutely no reason to believe it was going to happen. And in fact, everything pointed to it not happening. There are entire adoption agencies pulling out of Ethiopia right now. Almost all the families with our agency have transferred to different adoption programs. According to what we saw, it was impossible. But, Scripture says, what is impossible with man is possible with God!

wrote about the adoption that same week, on February 13th, for the first time in one year. That day happened to be our little Ethiopia guy's third birthday. In that article, I wrote about how we need to be fully convinced of the promises God gives us. I wrote, "All it takes is one word." And three days later, that word was spoken.

That word was spoken.

Let that sink in.

What word do you need the Lord to speak today?

What promise do you believe God has spoken over your life?

How might you be able to activate your faith?

It may take many years for you to see God speak that word, and that's okay because God's timing is perfect, but can you hold onto the faith? Not perfectly, I certainly had my moments. But can you hold onto faith despite what you see before you?

All it takes is one word. Yes, we need to be certain that what we're waiting for is the will of God. Yes, we must hold things loosely and be willing to release whatever God calls us to release. But if, today, you still hear, "Don't give up," then DON'T GIVE UP. Far too many people give up before they see the promises of God. It just so happens that my stubbornness would not allow me to do that. I was willing to let my promise go the moment God told me to, but that's not the word He had given me. So if you, like me, are facing roadblock after roadblock, take heart, for it is not you who will hurdle that obstacle, but God. We serve a God who does the impossible. Nothing is to difficult for our God.

It is His job to work all things according to His perfect will, and it is ours to believe.

This article originally posted on LaurieCoombs.org on February 18, 2015.

One WordThis post is going to be extremely informal. Quite honestly, my plate this week and next is incredibly full (for good reason!), but I just had to get on here briefly to share some amazing news––news I hope will strengthen you in your faith as it has me in mine. If you have yet to read last week's post, Fully Convinced, I'd encourage you to do so. God's timing of that post is just beyond words. In that post, I wrote briefly of the challenges my family and I have faced in our Ethiopian adoption. Our adoption had gotten to the point where it did not just seem impossible, but by all accounts, it was.

But once again, we have seen God do the impossible!

I received a call Monday, a call we have been waiting for for four and a half years, telling us of two amazing little people who live half a world away. Two little ones who will be ours. A little girl, four years old. And a little boy, three. It's almost too wonderful to believe, and quite honestly, I think my husband and girls and I are all still a bit shell shocked by what the Lord has done.

I mean, He did it! All it took was one word. And He has spoken that word, and fulfilled the promise.

When we set out on this journey to adopt, we fully expected to have our child(ren) home in one to two years. That was back in 2010. Roadblock after roadblock was placed in our way, which converted this one to two year journey into a four and a half year journey of faith. It seemed, many times along the way, that it wasn't going to happen, but each time, I prayed and distinctly heard God tell me, "Do not give up!" Over and over again, "Do not give up!" And so we didn't. We chose to believe.

Last week, I wrote about Abraham's faith. That He believed God would fulfill His promise despite what He saw––despite the impossible challenges before him. Scripture says His faith was counted to Him as righteousness. Now, I wish I could say that I had great faith all along, but I can't. Doubt crept in about one year ago, and I began to wonder whether or not God was going to pull through. I wondered if I had heard right. I wondered if we were on the right path. But each time, I felt deep in my heart that we needed to press on. We needed to believe despite what we saw. I mean after all, that's the definition of faith. Faith is the assurance of things not seen, before they happen. Faith is not an "I'll believe it when I see it" ideology. It's an "I'll believe it despite what I see" kind of thing.

I'll be writing more about this in the coming weeks, and I can't wait to share it with you, but I'm going to have to take next week off to complete a ridiculous amount of paperwork! Until then, I'll leave you with these thoughts:

  • We must always seek godly wisdom to assure we're pursing God's will and are not chasing after our own desires.
  • The path God sets before us will have obstacles.
  • If you believe (after prayer and counsel) that you are on God's chosen path, do not give up. Far too many people quite before they see God's promise come to fruition.
  • Always remain teachable, humble, and open to the Spirit's leading. He may direct you in ways you do not anticipate.
  • And always, always REMEMBER that we serve a God who does the impossible. Do not base your belief on your circumstances, but rather, base your belief on who God is.

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