Encouragement, Fear, Hope in Suffering, trust

Feeling Desperate? Then P.U.S.H.

Have you ever felt like some huge doom is headed your way, and if God doesn’t do something about it RIGHT NOW, some really, really bad stuff is gonna happen? Like, REALLY bad? Like lose-everything-and-become-destitute bad, or I-don’t-know-how-I’ll-ever-get-through-this bad, or my-life-is-literally-over bad? Or maybe you feel like you’re stuck in the middle of a storm that never seems to end.

Yeah, we’ve been there, too. And by we, I mean my family. My mom, dad, younger sisters, and me. We’ve felt that way for over a year, ever since my dad lost his job. He applied to literally thousands, from high-paying corporate ones to a night janitor at the grocery store down the street from my house. Not one of them hired him. After a year of desperate searching and – let’s face it – some time on welfare, we were looking at absolute financial ruin. Seriously. Homelessness was in the realm of possibility. Another couple of months, and the bank would definitely take our house.

BUT. Today, after 13 months of praying daily, often multiple times a day; after asking everyone we know to pray for us; after countless Rosaries, novenas, and desperate screaming at God; it happened.

My dad got a job. A really, really good one. The COO of a company, in fact. This is not meant as an opportunity to brag; this is to give absolute glory to God and His goodness. If it wasn’t for Him, all hope would be lost.

Here’s the lesson: when things get desperate, it’s time to P.U.S.H: pray until something happens.

I’m not gonna lie. At times, it did feel like God was ignoring our prayers. There were so many times when my dad would get inches away from landing a job, only to have it yanked out from under him. He was swindled out of money. He had to sell his car. He lost his mother and sister. Nothing was getting any better, despite all the prayers we kept saying. It seemed hopeless.

But in the midst of the terror, doubt, anger, and confusion, we have truth to hold onto. The truth the Lord tells us:

Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. (Matthew 6:8)

I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. (Isaiah 38:5)

Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,’ and he says in reply from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.’ I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence. And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you, then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give (Luke 11:5-13)

Then He told them a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. He said, “There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, ‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’ For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, ‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her’…Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. Will not God then secure the rights of His chosen ones who call out to Him day and night? Will He be slow to answer them? I tell you, He will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.” (Luke 18:1-8)

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear…Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they…Will He not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?…Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. (Matthew 6:25-33)

Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Should even she forget, I will never forget you. See, upon the palms of my hands I have engraved you (Isaiah 49:15-16)

You see, God continues to tell us that everything we fear, everything we need is heard. He continues to tell us that He hears our prayers and that He does answer them. He continues to tell us that He will provide for us, because we are His precious children. God is the good Father; He doesn’t deny us what we need. God is love, and love is “willing the good of another”. God wills our good. He doesn’t ignore us or brush us aside. He doesn’t forget about us. He isn’t unfeeling or uncaring. He hears our sorrows, hears our fears, and is actively working to make good happen in our lives. We just need faith to believe this truth, and persistence in prayer.

So keep praying for whatever it is you’re praying for, especially in your hour of desperate need. God does make miracles happen still. I know. I witnessed one today. Pray until something happens. Don’t stop until that mountain gets moved.

Amen I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. (Matthew 17:20)

Here’s what helped my family move the mountain in our life, which I’m certain can help you, too:

1. Pray unceasingly. Every single day. Multiple times per day. Even in mantra form. I spent a solid fifteen minutes yesterday just repeating, “God, please provide my dad with a job,” over and over. No joke.

2. Tell everyone you know to pray. Even people you don’t know very well. Where I work, we open our store every morning with a prayer. I offered up my dad as a prayer intention every time. Before I knew it, my coworkers – ones I didn’t even really talk to – were asking about how he was doing, asking how they could help.

3. Fast. Give something up until God answers  your prayers. Or abstain from food for the day as an offering to God. Whatever works best with your health needs.

4. Pray a rosary novena. My dad, a former Protestant, wouldn’t touch a rosary with a ten-foot pole – until a few months ago, when he got desperate enough. He started praying the rosary every single morning, even St. Joseph novenas to find work. Talk about a complete 180. (P.S. In my experience, 54-Day Novenas work every.single.time. no matter how massive the petition.)

5. Pray with other people. I would wake up in the early morning to hear my parents whispering prayers for God to provide a job. I had some of my missionary friends pray with me for my dad. As Jesus says, Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20)

6. Thank God for whatever He will provide for you, even when that provision hasn’t come yet. My cousin shared with me a story about how her mother injured both her legs so badly that doctors thought she would never be able to walk again. Every day, she continued to say, “Thank you, God, for healing my legs. Thank you Jesus for restoring my strength.” And eventually, her full faculties were restored. If that’s not a glory story, I don’t know what is.

7. Believe that what you ask will be given to you. Have that strength and conviction of faith. Even when you don’t see it, even when it feels like there’s no answer, believe that you will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Don’t give up hope. The basis of faith, after all, is believing in that which is unseen.

If you take nothing else out of this entire post, just remember this: Persevere in prayer. Pray until something happens.

Recommended song: “I Need a Miracle” by Third Day, “Stronger” by Mandisa, “Praise You in this Storm” by Casting Crowns

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