by Anita Miles
And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes that he may see…
II Kings 6:17
If there was one given thing that any of us wished to understand, it would be the ways of God. Some of the ways He chooses to act, or not act, in our lives are completely mysterious to us at times - to put it mildly! We hear of miracles that God performs, such as the miracle that Shayla wrote about last week, and we are in complete awe of how powerful He is. At other times, we pray until we’re blue in the face, and it seems as though our prayers get no further than our ceiling. I will be the first to admit that I don’t understand the ways of God most of the time. However, I have seen enough of Him, that I believe with all my heart, that He’s got my best interest at heart - no matter what the situation is. And that gives me the motivation to keep trusting and following Him! As much as I LOVE the immediate miracles and believe and pray for them, I love it just as much when, after a while of seeking, God decides to reveal His hand and show me that all along He was working his strategy for my good! Let me explain…
My husband and I are currently working on getting a new home built for our family. It’s been many years in the process. Timing and daydreaming and thought processes have been challenging for my short level of patience, but up to this point, I feel like it’s been worth it. Knowing that we plan to be moving to our new forever home in the next few months, I have spent any spare moments I could find attempting to declutter things that I don’t want to move again. I’ve purged closets, dressers, nightstands, memoir boxes, etc…
A few weeks ago while purging my old calendars and notebooks, I found a prayer list of mine from a few years ago. 2012 to be exact. One of the lines of that prayer list was the desire for a place for my grandparents to live. The situation surrounding that request was that my mom’s parents had just permanently come to Alabama from Lorain, OH due to poor health. They were living with my parents at that time and there was a desire for everyone to have their desired space - but yet be close enough that my parents would be able to help take care of any needs they may have. It was very complicated because properties like they were needing weren’t exactly readily available in the little town of Millry where they lived - to purchase or to rent.
The neighbors weren’t interested in selling any of their property and every person we knew to ask had no ideas either. We had been attempting to buy the neighbor’s property for at least 15 years - so we knew that wasn’t happening! The lady who owned that property was drunk more than she was sober - and Friday nights were full of parties and alcohol - so my dad had diligently attempted to get her to sell to us to eliminate the noise and chaos from the dysfunction. We had no doubt that would be a closed door, so we basically spent no time considering it as an option. We finally concluded we would wait it out and pray that something would become available soon where my grandparents could move that would be within a few minutes drive.
Because of the complexity of the problem, we decided our only option on an answer was to make it a family matter of prayer. So we did - and we were serious about it…
Just a couple of weeks after our family had begun to pray together about this matter, my mom walked out to her garage to clean out her van. As she was rummaging around out there, she heard a voice calling out to her that startled her. She climbed out of the van and walked out towards the end of the garage to see our next door neighbor standing in her driveway. Mom’s initial reaction was one of nervousness, as the neighbor was an older difficult woman who always came over to find my dad to help her resolve her problems. Because of the drinking problems, encounters with her usually didn't go well - so my dad was the preferred point of contact for her among all of us - and it had been that way for years. Sure enough, after Mom asked if she could help her, the neighbor’s response was, “Is the preacher around?” She seemed to be in a better frame of mind than Mom could remember and so she told the neighbor that he wasn’t home and asked if there was anything she could help her with… “Well…he’s asked me for years about selling him my property and I’ve always told him no. I think the time has come for me to move over to Mississippi to be closer to my family. I was wondering if he’d be interested in buying my place….”
So…I’ll just leave you to guess what that answer was to her. And I’ll also leave you to imagine how badly my mom wanted to dance and run laps around our entire yard…
Over the next few months, the property just a few steps through the trees was transformed into the little 2 bedroom house we still lovingly call “the Mansion.” It was an answer to our prayers and nobody in our family had to wonder about how God had intricately woven His will into her life decisions to create the miracle we needed for our family’s needs. It was easy to see that 15 years of denial on her part had been used strategically by God to show us in an unbelievable way that He was fully aware of where we were and what we needed. And He provided when the timing was right.
It’s amazing how easily we can be overcome by our circumstances to the point that we are almost so incapacitated by the impossible. Many times it never occurs to us that there’s a very good chance that God is working behind the scenes and strategizing - getting the right people in place and working out details that we don’t initially think of. But if we’ll hold on for just a little while and trust and pray it through, we may just get our socks shocked right off of us.
I wish it was as easy for us as it was when Elisha prayed for his servant in his fear. The preoccupation of the servant was on how surrounded they were with the horses and chariots. I can’t imagine that I would have felt any less nervous, so there’s no judgment of him here! But one prayer of Elisha changed everything the servant thought and believed. And then - the veil to the unseen was lifted. Characters that the servant never knew existed were suddenly covering the mountains ready to be at their service - all made available with just a prayer. I can’t imagine his life was ever the same. After such a miraculous vision - there’s no way a person’s prayer life couldn’t change.
Just think of how differently we would handle and / or appreciate our situations if we could have our eyes opened to the strategy of God… If we knew the times that God has fought for us when we never had a clue, we would pray more diligently and trust Him with our lives a lot easier.
Yesterday as I headed down from the 5th floor of the parking garage at my job, an employee of my organization that I do not know stopped cold 2 steps in front of me. She turned around and looked up at me and already had tears in her eyes as she asked me if I was a Christian. I replied that I was. She asked me to pray for her stating that she felt oppressed. I agreed to pray for her. She talked for the brief time it took us to get to the bottom of the stairs about her feelings and we discussed a few Scriptures on being made more than conquerors through Christ. By the time we reached the door - she turned around and said to me that she just needed to be reminded exactly what she believed. She walked through the next door with a smile and a wave.
Satan’s strategy is to blind us by fear, uncertainty, and unbelief. And he celebrates every time a believer is overcome with this blindness. But God’s strategy is one of Blessing. Even when He chooses not to show his hand - He’s working for our good! That’s what I believe because that’s what God’s word says He’s doing!
Today as I was writing this particular blog, a good friend texted me about a particular situation she’s been working through and we’ve been talking about for a few weeks. She was over the moon because a long term situation got situated yesterday - out of the blue - through a random suggestion by someone she was unprepared to encounter. She was so blown away at how quickly it came together, she was rather stunned. Knowing the happiness she was feeling and the thoughts that were running through my head and heart at the moment about what I was writing, the only reply that I could come up with was…”It always amazes me that when God isn’t audible, He puts the right people in the right places to accomplish stuff!! The strategy is sometimes as amazing as a sudden answer!”
Let’s take God out of the box of the given ways we figure He can work out our situations. He’s a strategic God. His ways are much higher than ours and beyond our comprehension. Will we believe Him when He says He’s working it out for our good? Or just say we do because it’s the Christian thing to do! There are blessings to be discovered if we can get our eyes opened to God’s strategic ways!