More than eighteen years ago I was introduced to a young man I have never actually met. The introduction came through the boy’s grandfather, part of a morning Bible study I was called to lead when I began at Calvary. His prayer requests each week – for a grandson with a rebellious streak, for concerns over the kid’s friends and associates and for the young man’s walk with the Lord – were heartfelt and loving, instilling in all who participated in his intercessions a confidence that God was at work. Over time, the church schedule changed and the prayer meeting was suspended, and any mention of the prayers for the man’s grandson were relegated to the back side of Bible studies and filed away.
Recently I was at a gathering which this man’s grandson attended. While I still have yet to meet him, it is evident by his interactions with fellow guests that all of his grandfather’s prayers have been answered in positive ways. This young man, once rebellious and challenging, is now active and effective in sharing the gospel with others. There are times when we all need a reminder that God is still at work and that He is still answering prayer. Overhearing the conversations that evening provided me with this reminder.
And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. 1 Thessalonians 2:13
Tomorrow, I will be involved in our church’s annual meeting. If you’ve ever participated in a church meeting, you know that many times these gatherings are either boring or contentious. Fortunately, our meetings are filled with good news despite some large challenges in ministering in what The Barna Group classified as the 2nd lowest Bible-minded city. Like the above account of answered prayer, it serves as a reminder that God is continuing to impact the people of Boston.
We all need to be reminded that God is still answering prayer, whether it is for those suffering with cancer, struck with job losses and transportation issues or stressed by rebellious grandchildren. We all need to be reminded that God is still turning hearts and minds to Himself, in big ways (like a child trusting in Jesus as Lord and Savior) or in small steps (like an adult trusting God for the power to break an addiction). We all need to be reminded that God is still teaching and training His people in righteousness, such as Bible study lessons coming to mind at just the time we need them or biblical themes entering our conversations unintentionally. We all need times of encouragement like this.
Whatever you are doing to advance the kingdom, be encouraged: the word of God is indeed at work in you who believe. Maybe we will be given empirical evidence that our labors are never in vain, or perhaps we will have to wait until we reach paradise to realize all that we were blessed to accomplish through His power and leading. Either way, join me as we praise God for all that He continues to do through, and often even despite, our efforts.