We tend to get discouraged when we don’t see immediate results from our prayers and actions. Our society does not encourage patience, as it is geared towards instant gratification, getting rich quick, fast food, and convenience. However, the Kingdom of God does not operate that way and we need to align ourselves with the kingdom mentality. A song from one of my favorite worship leaders has these lyrics, which illustrate some of how His kingdom varies from that of the world:
“I’m in love with a king who became a slave
I’m in love with a God who is humble
You gotta go down if you wanna go up
And You’ve gotta go lower if you wanna go higher and higher
Well you’ve gotta hide and do it in secret if you wanna be seen by God
Cause it’s the inside outside upside down kingdom
Where you lose to gain and you die to live”
(Misty Edwards – “Servant of All”)
While there are times we see instantaneous results from our prayers and ministry to others, that doesn’t seem to be common. Sometimes, we don’t get the opportunity to witness, firsthand, the fruits of our labors. Other times, we lay foundations and/or plant seeds, but someone else gets the credit for the finished product. There are periods where we may not see any positive results from our efforts. During these times, we must hold on to hope, believe good will come of what we’re doing, and continue in kingdom business.
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:9-10 NKJV)
As I tend to struggle with discouragement, from time to time, it was amazing and a tremendous encouragement to see God move quickly recently! Near the end of June, I was given the opportunity to share a message with the young adult fellowship I attend (yes, I realize I don’t fit the definition of a “young” adult, but I feel called to be there and haven’t been shown the door yet). While teaching on forgiveness and how we must forgive everyone, for everything they’ve done to harm us, regardless of how significant and damaging their actions were, I noticed someone shaking their head in disapproval. A few days later, Holy Spirit nudged me to send her a message. In the message, I told her how I realize how difficult it is to forgive people when they’ve done significant harm to us and/or our loved ones, but it is necessary and I’d be praying for her.
A few weeks later, I felt led to share a great blog post from Travis Kolder on Facebook. Within four days of that, a powerful message on being vulnerable was shared to the young adult group. The speaker shared very difficult experiences from his life, which had a tremendous impact on those listening. After he shared, we broke into small groups and discussed our difficulties with being vulnerable with God and others. We then prayed for each other. As our group session closed up, our pastor encouraged us to join in with praying for two ladies, who were being ministered to powerfully. Through this ministry by the Lord and a woman from the church, these two forgave men who had hurt them very badly – men they were having a difficult time forgiving, with good reason.
One of the women, was the one I sent the message to about forgiveness – God be praised! Shortly after this, the man who shared the message that night, told me the blog post I shared gave him the inspiration to be vulnerable and share those dark things from his youth. I didn’t have a clue, that a few instances of obedience to Holy Spirit, were going to have such a profound impact. I was so grateful and honored to be used in this instance.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we can choose to be rude or unkind to others. As I was formulating this blog post, I thought of how I had recently given a man a death stare and look of disapproval, after he drove 3-4 feet into my lane, about 5 inches in front of my car. I don’t know this man, nor anything about him. For all I know, he could have been a recovering alcohol or drug addict and my reaction towards him may have caused him to take his first drink or opioid in months. Hopefully, this wasn’t the case.
Life can be extremely challenging, particularly in the days we are now living. Doing good and living out our faith can be extremely difficult, especially when we don’t see results. Nonetheless, I encourage you to press on and continue to be a world changer, as you never know when what you do, say, or pray can greatly alter the trajectory of someone’s life.
May the testimony I shared strengthen your faith and embolden you to continue to fight the good fight and love well. May discouragement be abolished and you realize the great impact you have on those around you. Father, grant those reading these words to sense your indwelling presence and develop a heightened sense of your guidance. Reveal to them the great plans you have for them and how seemingly small actions can have a profound ripple effect. In the might name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.