“How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? … Consider and answer me, O LORD my God …” Psalm 13:1-3 (ESV)
“I think we should name him Chuck Norris.”
“How about Bruce Lee?”
“I say Chuck Lee … Raise your hand if you vote for Chuck Lee.”
This was a nightly dinner discussion with my then 7- and 9-year-old sons, talking over names for their soon-to-be baby brother.
“How about Zachary? Or Christian?” I added, hoping to sway the crazy talk.
“Ooh! I like Zachary! And Christian!” my oldest said. “Raise your hand for Zachary Christian.”
All hands went up. Whew. That was close. How weird it would have been to explain how my youngest child was named during the karate phase at our house.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you know it’s your life, but you don’t recognize your life? This was me at the table of karate name options.
Our family had moved to minister in a new community, believing God had called us there, but as we stepped out in faith, He went radio silent. He gave marching orders; we charged ahead. When we looked back, He was gone. Or so it seemed.
Maybe you’ve been here too: With all your heart, you knew it. You put all your eggs in the basket. You bought the field for the treasure (Matthew 13:44). You. Were. Sure. And then you weren’t.
Maybe you’ve prayed a prayer of desperation similar to King David’s in today’s key verse: “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? … Consider and answer me, O LORD my God …” (Psalm 13:1-3).
In my own prayer of desperation, I tagged on the specifics:
Lord, this baby is a miracle. And I'm so thankful for the blessing of a child! But in the stress and overwhelm of our ministry situation, I’m feeling out of sorts and crying over a seemingly small thing — this baby’s name. Nothing seems right. Not my life, not my situation, and not the baby names on my list! Where are You, God? Why have You forgotten me?
That’s all I heard in my spirit. Skeptical, I prayed, For months, You’ve said nothing, and now just this random name? That’s not even on my list!
Maybe there was more to it. I pulled out my book of baby names to search the biblical meaning of the name Zachary:
God has remembered you.
I let it sink in. God has remembered you.
Now it was my turn to be silent as I sat in awe of God’s wisdom and timing.
So distracted by unmet expectations, I had assumed God was nowhere near. But in the midst of my frustrated prayers, He reminded me of His presence by gently whispering the name of my unborn son.
That personal and kind reminder not only touched my heart in that moment but in every moment over the last 14 years when my son Zachary has whispered “I love you” to his mama.
If you’re like me, you tend to look for God in the obvious, over-the-top miracles. You look for Him in mighty displays of power like fireworks, where you can point and say to those around you, “See? Only God could do that!”
While we’re busy seeking the big and boisterous, we often miss His still, small voice that comes in those dark and desperate, very silent nights. In a world of “bigger means better,” we’ve been desensitized to the smaller yet spectacular. We miss the God who sits so close He whispers — with the gentleness and intimacy of a loving Father speaking to His child.
Friend, following God’s call may not meet your expectations. But quite possibly He wants to reveal His heart in new ways that exceed your expectations.
And today, if you’re in the in-between place of surrendering your expectations and looking for how God will move in your situation, let me remind you of this simple truth:
God has not forgotten you.
Lord, thank You for Your nearness even when I don’t feel it. I want to feel it! Help me tune in, listen for Your whispers, and wait well with the expectation that You will remember me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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It’s hard to know when a relationship has moved from difficult to destructive. But what’s even more challenging is navigating the personal impact in a God-honoring way. Join Lysa TerKeurst; her Licensed Professional Counselor, Jim Cress; and Proverbs 31 Ministries' Director of Theological Research, Dr. Joel Muddamalle, for a short Therapy & Theology conversation called “Dealing With the Impact of Relational Dysfunction.” Click here to watch the video now!
Connect with today’s devotion writer, Jodi Harris, on her website or on Facebook.
For more reminders of God’s presence in the midst of our unmet expectations, join our Encouragement for Today Devotions community group on Facebook!
FOR DEEPER STUDY
Isaiah 49:14-15, “But Zion said, ‘The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.’ ‘Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!’” (NIV).
Isaiah 44:21, “Remember these things, Jacob, for you, Israel, are my servant. I have made you, you are my servant; Israel, I will not forget you” (NIV).
If you are in a season of feeling forgotten by God, remind yourself that He is near! In the comments, encourage others by sharing how God has exceeded your expectations.
© 2023 by Jodi Harris. All rights reserved.
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