She meant well. I’m sure she did. But as I watched her excited story on Instagram, all about how doors she’d never even knocked on were opening for her, my heart sank.

I’ve been knocking on those same doors in my life for decades now….

As she went into her theories on “If it’s supposed to happen, you won’t have to do anything for it,” the old fears and questions rose up in my heart so painfully that the pain formed into tears that stung the corners of my eyes.

What if I’m wrong? What if God can’t or doesn’t want to use me? What if He’s never going to come through?

I’m sure you’ve come across it too: the assertion that if God is behind something, all the doors will fly open and everything will fall easily into place.  Now, we all know (and want) the miraculous story of instant breakthrough. We have all heard how the Lord can do wonderful miracles for people, can thrust them into their Promised Land and the giants simply let them in and hand over the deed to the land. It happens. We clap and cheer and ask God that it be so for us as well. And sometimes it happens!

But then there are other times when blessings come at great cost or after great battles in which nothing came easily. There are times when you finally sit on the hilltop overlooking your freshly won Promised Land, bleeding, bruised and stunned.

Does that mean God wasn’t in it? Does it mean that you have fallen from favor or not experienced a mighty miracle? Is the Lord still in it when things are brutally hard, seemingly endless or cost you everything?

Yes. God is in both. He’s in the easy miracle and the miracle you experience when you’re down to your last breath.

I want that quick result. I want that heartbreak resolved, that word to come to pass, that healing to manifest, those Jericho walls to fall. The realization that my desire for a speedy resolution is not the best way often makes no sense to me. I don’t see the insecurities, hurts and deficiencies that would explode under the pressure of premature success.

Surely, we’ve all seen that happen to those who rocketed to their dreams too far and too fast and ended up a fading streak across the sky. And though we might think ourselves the steady and unfailing exception, we must trust the One who knows us inside and out.  Sometimes the hard victories are best; sometimes the hard victories are the only ones that last.

We see hard-won victories in the Word of God, don’t we? We see Noah building day in and day out while being ridiculed.  We see Abraham and Sarah waiting and longing into old age. We see Joseph in prison, falsely accused and wasting away before he was elevated to the right hand of Pharaoh.  We see David running for his life year after agonizing year while the man he intended to help is trying to kill him. We see Paul sent off to Tarsus because people just didn’t know what to do with him until the big-hearted Barnabas searches him out.

Each of these heroes and heroines was called by God, and they all walked through what appeared to be catastrophic circumstances before they saw the blessing they were promised.

Naturally, with our benefit of a bird’s eye view of their lives, we know that they were blessing others while waiting for their blessing. They were being refined and made usable while they waited. They were gaining strength and wisdom while awaiting their victory. And, most importantly, they were learning trust and developing their relationships with God. In the middle, however, they couldn’t always see those benefits. And we live most of our lives in that same middle without the bird’s eye view, grossly unaware of what is being laid in place around us.

Although quick victories don’t always prophesy future failure, more often than not, our victory is found after a long and arduous series of small and daily commitments to obedience to the Father. Those daily yesses build up behind a floodgate that eventually gives way. One day it may even erroneously appear as “easy success” to those who watch from their own stuck-in-the-process viewpoint. Only you will know differently. Only you and your Abba will know the cost of your tenacity.

Only you will know with intimate detail the fight you endured to just be willing to step out in faith and believe for what God was whispering with undeniable persistence. You alone can measure the weight of what laid you low as you walked through the rejections of naysayers, the leaps and misses, the doubts and misgivings and questionings.

One day you’ll look back with the gift of hindsight at the trail along the precipice that you walked. You’ll one day see the memorial your heart built as you stood at the clifftop agonizing over whether it was wiser to let go or hold on, that place where you surrendered all those hopes and expectations, yes, even those God-given dreams, and you placed them back into the hands of the Giver.

What if those moments were essential? What if the process of leaping, enduring, failing, doubting and relinquishing helped you find true trust and dependence on your God? What if when we look back and see nothing but a string of failures, the Lord looks back and instead sees our repeated success at obeying Him in the face of potential pain and embarrassment and, in all eyes but His, failure?

Navigating that narrow footbridge between surrender to what may never be and contending for all that has been promised is the essence of the crucible of waiting on the Lord. I know and believe in God’s good plans, but I’ll trust Him even if I never see them. I know He’s working all things for my good, and I choose to trust Him over trusting the manifestation of having things turn out well.

No, doors don’t always fling open. The way isn’t always straightforward and easy. Sometimes the favor of people that should have come never materializes, and the obstacles look insurmountable. Nevertheless, we can trust the One who promised to be faithful.

“By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.” Hebrews 11:11

Ami Loper

Ami is a writer, has a one-minute weekly vlog and preaches in a variety of venues with a goal of allowing the Lord to move. Her desire is to see her testimony and her teaching bring a message that is not just informational or inspirational, but transformational. Ami and her husband, Tim, have three grown daughters, three long prayed for sons-in-law and eight of the grandest Grands in the world.

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