1 Day.... A young woman living in the Arabian peninsula was terminally ill and losing ground steadily. Finally, although a Muslim, she came to a Christian women's prayer group and asked them to pray for her. They did. The very next day was her weekly check-up. The tests results were negative so the doctor thought there was a huge mistake on the nurse's part or the lab's part. He ordered the medical tests again and once again, they came back negative. Finally, he told her she was well and canceled her next appointment. She and her husband became believers the same day. Sometimes miracles happen! Don't quit praying and watching for them! story from the book Which None Can Shut.
3 Weeks.... Hudson Taylor adopted the motto "move men through prayer alone." Once Taylor's absent- minded boss forgot to pay his salary. For three weeks Hudson asked God to remind his boss to pay him. AT the end of the third week, it seemed God had failed. Hudson's bills were coming due and even if his boss remembered to write a check, the banks were already closed for the weekend. But after closing hours, a wealthy patient came to the office and insisted on paying a large bill in cash, Hudson's boss remembered that he owed Taylor money, and Taylor went home with enough money to pay his bills and meet his other needs. This convinced him that he could trust God for all his needs on the mission field - he eventually established the China Inland Mission which is known today as The Overseas Missionary Fellowship. The news right now is full of dire predictions about the economy. God has ways of caring for His own, even financially. The Bible tells us to keep on asking, keep on seeking, and keep on knocking..
7 years... Isabel Kuhn lost her faith in college and stayed away from all things Christian for many years while she pursued life as an agnostic, much to her father's grief. When she finally went back to church again, she was stunned to learn that one of her father's friends had been praying for her for 7 years. She eventually had a 180 degree turn-around and went on to spend the rest of her life as a missionary in China . But that's not all, she wrote several classic books and her daughter followed in Isobel's footsteps by investing her life in Thailand as a missionary. Her father's prayers and the prayers of this other man were answered, I think... Don't give up on your kids; pray for them!
8 years.. J. O. Fraser left England and moved to China in 1910 to spread the Gospel among a tribal people, the Lisu. He had a few converts at first but then for several years - nothing. And the first converts began to backslide. For the next six years, he traveled over mountains and lived in really tough conditions - worse than I can imagine - preaching to people who were afraid or unwilling to respond. By 1916 he was discouraged; he wrote this heart-felt prayer in his journal, "Give me Lisu converts and I can truly say I will be happy even in a pigsty!" He began an intense season of prayer and asked others back in England to pray in faith as well. Later that year, whole Lisu families suddenly responded, began to grow in faith, and then went out to spread the message themselves. By 1918, 8 years after Fraser arrived in China, the Lisu Church had baptized thousands of believers. Sometimes years go by with nothing and then suddenly, amazingly, the answers start rolling in. Seeds planted in His vineyard will eventually bear fruit and sometimes I think He likes to surprise His worn-out workers by busting out with answers that leave people open-mouthed and wide-eyed in wonder. Keep working and praying.. you could be that "someone".
18 years... At one time, Albania claimed to be the only 100% atheistic country in the world - that wasn't true by the way b/c there were Christians in the country even during the worst persecution. An Albanian Christian living in exile, Sali Rahmani, began broadcasting 15- minute- Christian radio programs into Albania from Western Europe. He did this day in and day out for 18 years before he got his first letter from a listener in Albania letting him know that someone was actually out there, hearing his broadcasts. Not only were people hearing his messages but totally unknown to him, a small, underground church was thriving. If God has given you a message to say, keep saying it. If He's given you a story to tell, it's important that you tell it even if no one seems to be paying attention.
39 years... In 1956, Nate Saint, along with four other missionaries, was speared to death in Ecuador by the primitive Waodani tribe. Over the years, the Waodani became Christians and then 39 years after they had killed the 5 missionaries, they asked Nate's son, Steve, to bring his family to the jungles of Ecuador and live with them. So that's what Steve and his family did . During the year that Steve and his family lived in the Ecuadorian jungle, the Waodani man who had actually killed Steve's' dad became like a grandfather to Steve's son. It took 39 years but God brought everything full circle. He has a way of doing that! And somehow, I don't think Nate has any regrets right now for the way he spent his life - would imagine he's very proud of his kids and his grandkids.
2000 years + From the foundation of the world, God planned to send His Son as the sacrificial Lamb for the sins of the world. But it would be a while - more than 2000 years -before the Messiah appeared on the dusty streets of Nazareth, bringing light to those who lived under the shadow of death. Most of the twelve disciples probably came from generations of devout Jewish ancestors who had longed for, waited for the Messiah. Even though it took longer than probably anyone imagined, when the time was right, God sent forth the Messiah just as He promised. That was back then. So how does that affect us now in 2011? Without getting into the details - which I am NOT clear on- Jesus definitely said that He would be coming back. How all that will play out is His problem; mine is to be found working for Him and waiting for His return.
Yet with respect to the promise of God, Abraham did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God. Romans 4:19-20.