“Jesus said to the man, If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes. Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, Lord I believe; help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:23-24)
I was determined to get all of my unused Christmas purchases returned before the deadlines. I had one more stop to make at Wal-Mart and I so didn’t want to do it. Procrastination was about to take over, but I determined I would get this dreaded task done. Need I say anything more?
As I drove up and down the rows of cars in the parking lot I had an uneasy, unsafe feeling. Each approaching row felt like a cloud of darkness staring at me. I began to pray:
“Lord, I feel very unsafe here but I need to make this return. I don’t want dread or procrastination to control my life. I belong to you and I trust you to keep me safe. Lord, will you please protect my car and all of my belongings? I, and all that I have are yours and I trust you. I pray in Jesus name that any plot or plan of the enemy will fail right now.”
I dug through my purse looking for a piece of gum, quickly stuffing everything back in and walked into the store feeling covered, protected and safe. As I stood in the customer service line, I realized that the receipt that I held was the wrong one. After waiting in the dreaded return line, the cashier confirmed this was true. Now I would only receive the sale price amount. I remember feeling like all of my effort and prayer went limp when I was unable to accomplish the task. I felt both irritated and discouraged.
I decided to grab a few needed items so the Wal-Mart stop would not be a total waste. But when I reached into my purse for the pouch holding all of my credit cards, there was no pouch. I dug and dug and the results were the same. I found enough cash, checked out and now with panic rising in my throat, I ran to the car to see if I dropped the pouch during the chewing gum search. No pouch!
The car search ended in fear and more discouragement. Heart racing, Fear Rising. Discouragement now sitting on my head and heart yelling lies. I ran back to customer service hoping it was found on the counter or found in the parking lot, but their looks told me I was crazy if I thought this would be the case. Nevertheless the manager was called and a peek behind the locked door produced no pouch.
As I stood there waiting and waiting, a desperate call to my husband gave me a little encouragement through his prayer. I felt a calm and a love from him, but I was sick at my stomach and actually felt very alone like a little girl deserted by her Dad. This little pouch held every credit card I have, my driver’s license, insurance card, and membership cards. My entire identity was in this little brown pouch. Lost! Questions were taking over my thoughts. What is happening while I stand here waiting? Who is stealing the details of my life or shopping with my cards while this little abandoned girl just stands here?
As I looked back, the truth was, I felt like God had not answered my prayer. I had entrusted my car, all my belongings and myself to Him and He had not answered. The prayer did not work. It was no good. I felt deep, deep disappointment.
I rushed to my previous stop in another attempt of re-claiming my lost pouch equaling my identity. Before I reached the counter I saw her face. The cashier was practically standing on her tiptoes smiling at me and shaking her head affirming me that she had it. “I have it. I have it right here honey. I have been calling you over the speaker system. I’ve been waiting for you to come back. It was right here on the counter. I put it in the drawer. Everything is secure.”
I clutched it and said a hundred thank yous. Leaning over the counter with grateful tears I asked that she give me a minute to catch my breath and to thank God. Feeling a rush of many emotions, weak kneed I returned to my car where my husband was now waiting for me. He presence comforted me as he celebrated the good news with me.
As I am growing in my relationship with Jesus, I am asking Him to show me Himself in everything. The hard places and difficult things seem to teach me the most valuable lessons. The lesson came as I drove home talking to Him about my heart.
Through falling tears, I whispered, “Lord, I am so sad that I was disappointed. I was disappointed in you. Why? Why was I disappointed? I believed that you had not answered. But you did. I felt abandoned and unheard. I didn’t believe you. I didn’t believe you protected my stuff and me. But you did. All the time you protected my pouch, my identity and me. It was never lost. It was perfectly safe. I just didn’t know where it was.”
The panic filled minutes brought to the surface what was already in my heart. It had a name. Unbelief. Belief would have responded differently. Belief would have known that God heard and God answered. Belief would have thanked Him that He knew where it was and would lead me to it. Belief would have entrusted it all to Him. Belief would have told the enemy to take his fear tactic somewhere else because my God takes good care of me. Nothing touches my life outside of His permission.
God wants us to be honest with ourselves and honest before God. Our feelings are God given and are intended to lead us to God. If we will be honest about what arises in our hearts, we will see God. This is what the Bible means in saying that David was a man after God’s own heart. He was always raw and real with God. He never pretended that he felt something different. He gave it all to God and allowed God to search His heart and change His heart.
“Search me, O God and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts.” Ps. 139:23
So this is where we start. An honest heart before God. Raw. Real. Honest. Unbelieving. Doubting. Disappointed. Repentant. Forgiven. Restored. Joyous. Believing.