Elisabeth Elliott once said, “What God gives in answer to our prayers will always be the thing we most urgently need, and it will always be sufficient.”
I have this quote printed on a card and stuck to my bathroom mirror where I look at it everyday. I realize that I am still quite young (despite what my children might think), but I do know what it is to cry out to the Lord in prayer. Like countless others, I have spent sleepless hours pacing the floor or on my knees in agonizing prayer. I know what it is to sit in a doctor’s office and be told there is no longer anything they can do to save the one you love from the cancer that has invaded their body. I know what it is to pray for relief, for answers, for direction, for…something…and yet be met with silence.
In fact, as I write this my mind travels back over the last few years, which have been the hardest of our lives thus far, and I am reminded of a passage of Scripture that taught (and continues to teach) me a great deal.
The psalmist says in Psalm 119,
Before I was afflicted I went astray:
but now have I kept Thy Word.
Thou art good, and doest good:
teach me Thy statutes.
It is good for me that I have been afflicted:
that I might learn Thy statutes.
I know, O LORD, that Thy judgments are right,
and that Thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. (vv. 67, 68, 71, 75)
I noticed that the psalmist said it was GOOD that he was afflicted, for without it his heart went astray. He even goes so far as to attribute his affliction to God’s goodness and faithfulness. I remember being struck by that for the very first time. Was I willing to look at my own affliction that way? Was I willing to not only endure it, but actually call it GOOD? Was I willing to admit that within my heart resided the sins of pride, envy, bitterness, and selfishness that affliction, if left to do its work, would bring to the surface for the grace of God to wash away?
As I look back on these last few years, on every painful moment, every day of uncertainty, every tear that was shed, I rejoice alongside the psalmist and proclaim, “It was indeed good!” There was a purpose in everything, a lesson to be learned…a lesson that could be taught no other way than through affliction. In my deepest valleys I came to know my Lord in a way I never had before, and I came to know my own desperate need of His grace.
These years have taken us on a journey we never would have expected and one we probably wouldn’t have asked for then, but this journey has led us to you Wake Chapel. God gave us in answer to our prayers what we urgently needed…and it is sufficient. We give Him all the glory for bringing us together! How good our God is!