Jun 18, 2012
Two weeks ago God gave a great mercy to my wife — which I hope will encourage many of you.
I’ll ask her questions — and jot down her answers.
Me: What was going on a few weeks ago?
Jan: Well, to be honest, I was feeling pretty discouraged.
I had been praying about some things that are very dear to my heart.
But even though I had been praying earnestly and for a long time — I was not seeing any answers.
Well — maybe there were some answers. Some tiny progress. But not much.
So I was deeply discouraged.
I told God that I felt like I was having to “claw and scrape” in prayer to see even the smallest progress.
That’s the phrase I used — “claw and scrape.”
That’s how I was feeling — and that’s what I was saying to God.
Me: What did God do two Sundays ago?
Jan: Two Sundays ago during our Mercy Hill worship gathering God gave a man a spiritual gift which he stood up and shared.
[Me again — I want to break in here and give our take on spiritual gifts —
We believe spiritual gifts can involve the Holy Spirit telling one person what another person needs to hear.
These gifts are not authoritative — they need to be weighed with Scripture.
But when pursued biblically they can bring great encouragement.
Also — Jan wanted me to make sure you know that she had told no one except me how she had been feeling — she had told no one about her use of the phrase “clawing and scraping.”
OK — back to Jan.]
Jan: So a man stood up and shared a spiritual gift.
He said he thought the Holy Spirit was saying that someone there was feeling deeply discouraged.
He said this person had been in a season of oppression, difficulty, disappointment.
That this person has not seen God help them in the ways they had longed for.
And then he said something that floored me — “you feel like you have been clawing and scraping — and not making much progress.”
Clawing and scraping??? Is THAT what he said?
That’s what he said.
God had given him the very words I had been speaking — so I would know this spiritual gift was from God and for me.
I know — God was speaking to me.
And then he went on to say that — based on Isa 40:31 — God was calling this person to wait on Him — to know that He is working — that He has heard your prayers.
Me: What were you feeling while this was going on?
Jan: I was stunned.
When I heard this man speak the very words I had been saying to God for months — well, I was convinced this spiritual gift was from God for me.
God was telling me that He had heard my prayer — that my prayer has not been in vain — and that I can trust Him.
Me: How did this impact you?
Jan: I’ve said that “the countenance of my soul has been changed.”
The circumstances have not changed. I’m still not seeing answers to these particular prayers.
But now I have confidence that God is working even when I’m not seeing things change.
Now I am at peace. I am feeling strong.
I know God is hearing my prayers.
I know my prayers have not been in vain.
And prayer no longer feels like I am clawing and scraping.
Me: What have you learned from this?
Jan: A couple things.
One is that spiritual gifts are a wonderful kindness from God.
It is so loving of God to give someone else a word that was specifically for me.
Another is that the body of Christ is a powerful place of encouragement.
We need to be in fellowship with other believers so we can receive and give encouragement like I received.
Another is that we should keep pressing in with prayer even when it seems hard.
No prayer is wasted.
God hears. God loves. And God will answer in the perfect way at the perfect time.
Me: Thanks for sharing this, sweetie.
So — how have you been encouraged by other believers?
How have you experienced spiritual gifts strengthening your faith? I’d love to hear your stories — leave a comment below. Thanks!
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And here’s some related posts you might find helpful —
When Martin Luther was struggling
Praying with faith
An example of the spiritual gift of faith
Does faith mean believing I will receive what I'm praying for?