The Upper Room devotional reflection for Monday, September 14th comes to us from Itsuko Kunori of Gunma Prefecture, Japan.
John 14:12-14 NRSV 12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it. 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
At the age of 23 I married a man who was not a Christian. Our lives became extremely busy running a school. All while I prayed for my husband’s salvation. One day, after we have been married for 30 years, my husband showed me an invitation he had received to a Christian crusade to be held in Tokyo. Feeling a leading from God, we went. When, at the end of the gathering, the leader invited participants to accept Christ my husband bowed his head before the Lord. He believed in Jesus that day, and at Christmas that year he was baptized.
His life was filled with eternal hope, joy, and service to God. When a new school building was built, he led a Christian dedication ceremony. When our church was in need of a place to worship, we offered the all-purpose room at our school – and my husband provided a cross for the platform. He invited the students to Sunday worship. This is the way the Lord answered my many years of prayer. I experienced the grace of the Lord, grace that human wisdom cannot comprehend.
Prayer: Our loving Father, use us as channels of your love. Be with us and help us to become good witnesses for you. Amen.
– Itsuko Kunori
How long would you wait for God to manifest the answer to your prayers? Scripture is full of persons who had to wait a prolonged amount of time for the answer to their prayers to manifest in the person of Jesus Christ. The woman with the issue of blood, the paralyzed man lowered on his mat, and the man possessed by spirits all endured years of waiting for promised answers to their prayers. We can imagine the frustration, hardship, ridicule, and self-doubt they must have experienced, all while holding on to the slim hope that God would fix their situations.
Waiting is a difficult discipline for many of us in our instant gratification society. We expect the answers to our prayers to be immediate. Indeed, Christ promises to give us anything, that aligns with his teachings, we ask for. However, Christ does not promise that the answers would be instantaneous nor swift. Itsuko prayed for her husband for 30 years before he was ready to accept a transformational relationship with God. Likewise, many of the situations we pray for require lengthy preparation time before they can manifest. In the interim, we are asked to remain faithful and faith-filled, holding to the assurance that the answers to our prayers will come to pass.