“The LORD watches over you—the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.” (Psalm 121:5)
The sun was hot even before spring arrived in Florida. And the sound of the ocean waves beckoned us. “C’mon, Nana,” my granddaughter pulled my hand. Even at four years old, she knew to lead her blind Nana.
“Don’t go too far,” hubby said as he relaxed on a lounger.
With her small hand tight in mine, our feet sunk in the hot sand as we drew closer to the water. We jumped over the waves, giggled, collected shells, and giggled some more.
After a long while, I realized I had no idea where we were—too far from hubby. Was he still watching us?
I got on one knee and held my granddaughter’s wet cheeks between my hands. “Sweet baby, look at me, do you see Papa anywhere?”
“Nope. C’mon Nana, let’s jump.”
Suppressing the panic that cramped my stomach, I said silent prayers, the kind that blurts out from the heart. The kind you want to word just right so God would be quick to answer. And my silent pleas were those that bordered on self-pity. “Oh, if I could only see a little bit, this wouldn’t happen.”
With all traces of patience tossed into the sea, I quickly drew closer to a group of folks talking. “Excuse me,” I waved in the direction of their voices. Would you have a cell phone?” I said. “I think I lost my husband.”
As I gave the first few numbers for them to dial, I heard a familiar voice, “Honey, what’s wrong?”
“Oh, there you are,” I grinned with relief at my hubby.
“I was watching you both the whole time,” he said.
A little shame swept over me. Not because of the beach scenario. But because how often I doubted, I panicked, I feared that God took His eyes off me. I worried I had drifted too far from His love, His provision, and His care.
We all do that sometimes, don’t we? While in seemingly fervent prayer, that doubt visits most of us. And we question His ability to rescue us when we’re walking on the hot sand of problems, tough times, and bad news.
So once again, we get on our knees as we were taught and begin to plead, beg, and ask over and over again. And when no answers come, His silence digs more anguish rather than peace. But all changes, all has more clarity, and doubt is replaced by reassurance when we follow these six steps:
1. Readjust our priorities. If we seek the answer to our prayer with more passion than we seek God Himself, His patience rather than answers is what will be at work. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
2. Resist the temptation to recite memorized, perfect prayers, with lovely words and deep insight. God simply wants the genuine expression of our heart. And most of all, “…when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:7)
3. Recognize that sometimes we don’t know how to pray or what our requests should be. So we can freely ask for Him to show us what to pray for. And confident that He’s listening attentively, whisper to Him, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
4. Remember that His answer is always in His timing, not ours because a thousand years in God’s sight are like a day that has just gone by. (Psalm 90:4)
5. Relish in the fact that while we wait, He’s working in us, in our heart, in our situation because, “We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
6. Remove anxious thoughts. In the silence of the moment and in the power of His presence, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
Why follow these steps? Because “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” (1 John 5:14–15)
While we pray, we’re certain that in His timing and ways, we have what we ask. We receive what He offers. We expect what He promises. And while we wait, we frame our patience with joy, confidence and peace.
If by chance you’re standing on the sand of sorrow, how confident are you that His watchful eye is upon you?
Although blind, Janet Perez Eckles helps thousands to see the best of life. She is a best-selling author and international speaker. Her writing and keynote messages help thousands turn their trials to triumphant, joy-filled lives. www.janetperezeckles.com
Publication date: March 29, 2016