Estimated reading time: 5 minutes:-)
God answers prayers.
I wanted to hop on here really quick this morning to tell you a story about how I saw God working and alive in my life during the last few weeks. I think it’s important to document when God moves so we never forget our God is alive, and He listens to our prayers.
Last week, I went to get coffee with a dear friend of mine. We go to the same youth group every Wednesday, but because a lot of high school students left for various reasons, we’re usually the oldest ones there by a few years. Which can be frustrating. And lonely, especially if you go to youth group to fellowship with fellow believers.
Truthfully, I’ve been frustrated with the situation for a while. When my friend can’t come, I don’t really have anyone to hang out with, so I end up either following my brothers around, talking with the adults, or joining a game by myself. Basically, I end up tagging along with a bunch of middle school students who still think the word “fart” is the funniest thing in the world.
Another issue is that because there are so many middle school students, our youth pastor usually caters the lesson, and rightfully so, to fit the entire audience. Which means he doesn’t go into extreme depth. Which is what I long for. What I need.
We don’t do small groups in my youth group. We don’t do worship every week. And these were the very things I felt we needed. But who was I, a kid about to graduate anyway, to change things?
Last week, when I got coffee with my friend, I was feeling really discouraged. And she felt the same way. We wanted to get into deep conversations about the gospel, but we couldn’t. We wanted to worship for longer than two minutes, but we couldn’t.
I prayed about it quite a bit. I honestly just poured out my heart to God; I didn’t request anything fancy. I just told him how frustrated I was with the situation. And God listened.
Get this: that night, the night I went to coffee with my friend, was a youth group night. My brothers already couldn’t make it, so we were debating not going at all. We actually decided to just hang out instead. But then we got a phone call from one of the youth pastors from our church.
“Hey Tryhard (his nickname for me cause I always smoke the middle schoolers in gaga ball hehehehe;),” he said, “are you coming tonight?”
“Weeell,” I pondered, giving my friend an awkward look (I’m very good at those), “I think we were planning on staying back tonight.”
“Well, we’re doing worship and I need your help leading,” he said. “You should try to make it.”
“Oh, okay! Worship sounds fun,” I beamed, smiling at my friend. Her eyes grew wide. “We’ll try to make it.”
“Okay great. See you there.”
One thing worth mentioning: the youth pastor who called us isn’t usually at Wednesday youth group every week. I love it when he is, because then I have someone to talk to, but usually that isn’t the case. So I was surprised in two ways: he was there, and we were going to worship.
I thought God had answered our prayers, and He had. But He wasn’t done working yet.
We got to youth group and sang two long songs that night. I jumped on the cajon and we did a duet, and it was one of the best youth group nights I’d experienced in a while. The middle schoolers were getting into the worship, and the lesson was deeper than usual. A glimmer of hope sparkled on the horizon.
As the night winded down, me and my friend prepared to go home. But as we were walking out, we saw a group of high schoolers and the youth pastor who calls me Tryhard sitting in a circle in the corner. We slipped into the circle and listened. It was a small group.
For the first time ever at my youth group, the high schoolers got together and prayed for each other and talked about the gospel in depth. We basically did exactly what I prayed for. I was floored.
Maybe it was too good to be true. I asked the youth pastor leading if he’d come next week, too.
“I should be here every week from here on out,” he said. “I was planning on doing small groups and worship every week now.”
It’s moments like these that remind me: God is alive and working. He doesn’t just hear every word you say, he listens.
I think it’s easy, as Christians, to think of the times God showed up big in our lives. The miracles He’s worked, the medical mysteries and radical transformations. But it’s so easy to forget all the times God shows up daily.
Some Christians claim God is done speaking. But I think He speaks in more ways than we can understand. I think He’s speaking now.
Every day, God works in my life and half the time, I don’t even notice it. Every day, He fulfills his promises to me and loves more than I can understand. My God’s not dead, He’s surely alive, but He’s not alive like a blade of grass is alive, swaying only gently in the breeze. My God is alive like a tree is alive, his arms reaching into each and every life He designed, his love spreading into the corners of existence.
Know this. Often, God is moving, but we’re too tunnel-visioned on our problems to notice. God doesn’t stop moving, though. He’s the same God who created laughter, who crafted joy and wind and fire and birds and the way your chin trembles before you cry. He’s not so above us He refuses to listen to our prayers and hearts. I mean, He is so above us, but He chooses to listen and work in our lives anyway.
Look out for the ways God is working in your life. Don’t forget them. The Israelites used to stack memorial stones in a particular place when God did something big there. Jacob set a stone in Bethel after God gave him a vision. Joshua erected 12 stones after the Israelites miraculously crossed the Jordan to commemorate God’s love. And Samuel set up a stone after the Israelites made a huge comeback against the Philistines with God’s help.
May we mark the ways God works in our lives, too. May we leave stones of our own. All the glory goes to God, and all the power is His. Look for the ways God is moving in your life and remember them, because they are testament to his love, power, and grace.