For twenty-two years, I have listened to my dad end his prayers with the phrase, “And we’ll thank You for it, amen.” After respectfully bringing his requests to the Lord, he always closed with that phrase. Whether his familiar voice settled around the family dining table or floated to my back-row seat in the church auditorium, I marveled at his sincere and firm faith to thank God for His answer even before he received it.
During my junior year of college, I struggled with my own faith in God. That year I was given challenges and trials that seemed heavier than I could carry. I felt like I would just be beginning to stand from the battering of one trial, when another one would smack me back down, and I didn’t understand why.
Well-meaning friends would tell me, “Just have faith in God.” But that didn’t comfort me. In fact, it made me mad. I didn’t know what that phrase meant. I didn’t understand what this abstract faith was, and I didn’t know how to pray for it.
One night, I sat in a cold, echoing stairwell, talking to my mom on the phone. She quoted Scripture and gently tried to guide me back to the truth. Through hiccupping sobs, I said, “I don’t know if I believe that God is even real anymore.” I spent countless hours in that stairwell, debating if He cared or even existed. I fought scrappy, ugly battles with this idea of faith, and I never seemed to win.
As I struggled that semester, I read through the gospels several times, searching for an answer. I was angry at God for the things He kept throwing my way. I didn’t read the Bible with a tender heart, searching for comfort; I read them with an expectant attitude, demanding that Jesus explain Himself.
But because God is loving and far more patient with me than I deserve, He didn’t give up on me. One night, as I read my Bible by flashlight, I came across a passage about a desperate, frantic man, and I saw myself in him.
Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’? Everything is possible for the one who believes.” Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe; help my unbelief!”
Mark 9:23-24 (CSB)
When I read this hurting man’s cry, something resonated deep inside me. I realized that his cry echoed what I had been crying all along. I knew who God was, and I didn’t want to forget the belief that I had based my life on, but my faith was flimsy and fragile.
In the following verses, Jesus answers the man’s desperate prayer, proving that for Jesus to answer me, I didn’t have to have a lot of this faith that I didn’t understand but just an understanding that it existed.
These verses were my lifeline through the rest of the semester, and I clung to them desperately. When trials would press down on me, and I was tempted to feel bitter, I whispered those verses. I was still spiritually in deep waters, but I had something keeping me afloat that helped me finish the semester.
Once I was finally home, I heard my dad pray again at our dining room table. He named his requests, and he ended his prayer just like he always did:
“And we’ll thank You for it, amen.”
My heartbeat slowed, as I realized that was it. That was all of it. I couldn’t believe how simple it was. Faith was bringing my requests before God with the complete confidence that I would be thanking Him for His answer, no matter what it might be.
My dad trusted that God heard him, that God saw him, that God was already working on an answer. He trusted Him so much that he was already planning his prayer of thanks.
This realization gave my heart rest that it had never known. There was so much peace going from a stance of defiance and closed fists to one of surrender and open hands.
As I transfer from college into the “real world,” I still struggle with the trials and changes that God sends my way. But instead of getting furious at God and demanding that He change my circumstances, I am learning to bring my requests to God and leave them there. I am learning that faith is a surrendered heart — a heart that prays and thanks God while waiting for His answer.
Ruth Mills says
What an awesome gift you had in your Dad’s example & you have passed to us! Thank you for sharing!
Josephine Broderick says
I want to thank God for an answer that through prayer and thanks that the is on the way makes my heart glad. May Almighty Lord Jesus Christ Blessed You
Josephine Broderick says
I want to thank God for an answer that through prayer and thanks that the answer is on the way makes my heart glad. May Almighty Lord Jesus Christ Blessed You
Ada Orie says
Good morning Abigail. This was a blessing to me. This devotional is where I am today. One trial after another after another continue to bombard me. Thank you for the reminder that no matter what we are that we are loved by God and he is with us in our darkest times. I continue to praise God is advance. God bless you.
Yes, Abigail! Well said, young one!
Beth Williams says
Life gets hard down here. It can seem as if God isn’t there or working on our behalf. But nothing could be further from the truth. He is constantly with each of us working on our behalf. We may not see it, but if we have faith as small as a mustard seed then it will come to pass. The answer may not be what we expect or want, but He will answer our prayers in His perfect timing. He loves us way to much to leave us to ourselves. Today I thank God for answering ALL my prayers in His perfect will.
Pam Chapman says
thank you ❤️
Pearl Allard says
It’s simple and super hard, both. No doubt I’ll be learning this lesson the rest of my life. I’m finding though, over the years, that my white-knuckled grip on needing to know NOW has calmed into a more relaxed posture of, “God, somehow I know You’ll take care of this too. I don’t have to know how. It’s enough to know You will.” Grateful for this reminder, Abigail!
Karen Knowles says
Amen! Great post!
Thank you for this post. I had some of these same feelings over the past year and I am 63. I thought I got the voodoo out of my faith long ago but suddenly I was reading scripture that I had read so many times before and seeing new verses that had me questioning my faith.
After a lot of fist-shaking toward heaven and some residual anger – I am finally starting to see that God created me, He knows me better than anyone, He knows why I am so angry, and is standing by waiting for me to work things through and come on home in my heart and mind as the returning Prodigal.
Amen , thank you