Do you ever feel like you’ve done all you can do about a situation, maybe a really hopeless looking situation, and all you can do is leave it in God’s hands?
The truth is, leaving those situations in God’s hands is the most powerful and sure-way-to-see-that-situation-get-resolved thing we can do. But if you’re anything like me, sometimes you feel it’s all on your shoulders to make something happen, and that burden comes with a lot of pressure.
I would venture to say that I have spoken to 500 inmates over the past three years. I have seen so many faces completely ravaged by drug abuse. Missing teeth, scars, and scabs mar the surface of a once fresh-faced girl. I have heard horrific stories of abuse. I have seen so many mothers living with the deep shame and guilt for choosing drugs over their kids. It can be very overwhelming at times.
And for a long time, after I would I finish my teaching and get into my car, a sadness would come over me and I would think, ‘Did that do any good? They’ve been through so much – they are so wounded – how will they ever change!”
And then one day I heard the Lord speak very clearly to my heart this verse in 1 Corinthians 3:5-7
We are only God’s servants… each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.
Whew –the pressure is off! I can leave this up to God. I can trust that He will work on the hearts of His children. I know that I’ve done what He’s asked me to do, and that’s all I can do. Either I’m planting the seed for the first time, or I’m watering what has already been planted, but ultimately it’s only God who makes the seed grow. I can cast the worry and anxiety off my shoulders and trust in God that He will do what I cannot.
Because even more than the sad stories and shattered faces I’ve encountered, I’ve seen the countenance of these ladies light up when they hear the life-transforming power of God’s Word spoken over their lives. I’ve seen darkness literally flee when the light of Jesus is shared. When they hear about forgiveness and mercy and God’s unending love and faithfulness, something about them changes. Ahhh yes I can see, God is already working!
Trusting God in this way not only applies to prison ministry, but any area of life in which we are doing what we feel God has called us to do, but we question if it’s doing any good.
The enemy would lie to us that our work is fruitless, but we are to trust God and remember what the Bible promises us in Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
Trusting God is the first and most important step we can take in believing for any circumstance to change.