by Kasia Kedzia
I have seasons in my life when I base my faith on sight and ability. I want to know what’s next. I convince myself that if I can conceive it in my mind then I can be secure in what’s to come, if I know what exactly it is I am waiting for I can wait more patiently. But that’s not faith. Faith is the exact opposite of this thinking. It’s me trusting the creator of the universe to blow my mind with the unconceivable, and there in lies the challenge.
Num13:27-28 (NIV) "We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large…
When Moses finally led the people to the Promised Land and sent out a scout team to check it out, it turned out to be more than the land “flowing with milk and honey.” The situation was scary and it was beyond what they could handle. It was exactly the kind of setting God could use to blow their minds, but they, like me, couldn’t conceive it and it stifled them as my perspective can stifle me some times. To combat this I took a prayer challenge to pray boldly, specifically and consistently for a month. I did not want to with doubts swimming around in my head robbing me of sleep and faith but I did it anyway.
Joshua 6:1-2 (NIV) 1 Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. 2 Then the LORD said to Joshua, "See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. 3 March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days […]On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. 5 When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in."
The alarm sounded. It was day seven and I moved more instinctively now, pulling the quilted blanket over my body and head as I rolled onto the prayer carpet at the foot of my bed. I had purchased it on one of my work trips and intended it more for decoration than this new purpose. I could feel the soft fibers of the fifty year old hand-made carpet cushion the palms of my hands, forearms, knees and tops of my feet. It felt as if I were extending my body over a plush stuffed animal. My own words echoed in my ears as I prayed. I was praying around the walls of the Jerichos in my life, harnessing them with my prayers. These walls too seemed to tightly shut up my deepest dreams, holding them prisoner. I continued to pray about my dreams, career, and people I care for. I prayed through the doubt, for the right words to pray, to believe that God was listening. Every morning I was waking up pouring out the noise from my head before God as I pressed my forehead into the backs of my hands. At first, it felt helpless, powerless. I found myself relating to those soldiers marching around that wall. How ridiculous, soldiers built to scale walls walking circles around them tooting horns instead. This is what I felt like too. My heart ached but in obedience I continued to pray.
James 1:6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
Then something happened, the calls started, from people I had not spoken to in months, one in over a year. These were not close friends but people who were in my life for a given point in time, who I shared my life and faith with at some point. They were calling requesting my prayers. So I continued to pray, now more fervently, specifically, for them, others, and for myself. The prayers began to take on power that was beyond me, so I prayed more boldly. And then, little by little, the walls began to crack. People’s hearts were moved, I began to receive calls about work opportunities.
The more I pray the more I am reminded that situations may not always look how I would envision them, but God’s Word never goes out empty. We do reap what we sow and as I have sown and spoken truth into people’s lives they have heard. My part of the ‘doing’ stops there. How they respond and when they respond is between them and God but it makes a difference how I live and what I say. It also matters how I pray. My hope is that some day someone I took the time to share with will seek God and get to know Jesus despite the christianese and hypocrisy he’s been buried under over centuries. My hope is that my authentic walk will in some way bring God glory and when the walls of Jericho around other’s hearts fall I will not be tempted to say, “look what I did.” Instead I will point to God and say, “look what He has done.”
In a way, praying has taught me to hope instead of wait both in people and in circumstances. Hope leaves room for possibilities that waiting sometimes doesn’t. I will always want to know what’s next, but I’m learning to leave room for the landscape to change not only in my peripheral vision but also right in front of me. Hoping, like love, can sometimes be painful, vulnerable and hard, but it’s worth it. Some of the walls have begun to crack and some days I’m still tempted to go at them with my very own sledge hammer, but one day they will come tumbling down by God’s power evoked through my prayers. I don’t know when or what will be on the other side, but right now my battle is in persevering to pray, and not try to figure out what situations will look like.
Psalm 126:5-6 (NIV) Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. 6 They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.
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Since those first days, I have made it out of the Projects, finished my Masters degree in International Development, and moved to DC to work in my field. As a young single Christian woman my struggles today are a little different than they were when I first came to know God, but who am I kidding, not much. It's the every day battle for my heart to be pure before God, to strive to please him, and help others to seek and know Him.
Over my years of a faithful walk with God I have received much grace and compassion and have been blessed beyond my wildest dreams. Through out it all one thing has stayed consistent: God's word. Through His word I have been inspired and it has kept me faithful even when faith seemed like a foreign concept and God seemed deaf to my prayers. I started emailing my Quiet Times which helped me stay accountable as I shared my struggles and fought for understanding. Some wrote back and said they too were inspired and could relate. I hope some of my times can help inspire others who are seeking and fighting just like I am, to get to heaven and take as many as possible with me along the way.
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