For years as a kid, I remember looking out of my bedroom window and praying the same prayer.
I remember looking out while my parents were fighting, while there was yelling, screaming and everything else that went on, and just praying for something else. I would pray for a way out; for people who really cared about me, for a life that was just drastically different than the one that I was living. I remember praying for that so many times, and I would get upset when it never came true.
I would ask God why, and I would cry, but still I kept asking. For the better part of 18 years of heartache and scary times, I prayed over and over again for a safe place and for people who would really love and care about me.
I had to wait a long time for that prayer to come to fruition, but one day I met a man named Rich Shepherd. The first time we met of course, I didn't know how important he would be (especially because he made fun of my baseball team). I was around him again a few more times and I got to meet his wife Vanessa. I started spending some time with these people, going over to their house and I even went on a trip with them to Bakersfield to see their family a few months later.
Time passed, and I spent more and more time with them and pretty soon I was seeing them at least 3 times a week. They welcomed me into their home, they let me talk without interrupting me and really listened to me. They fed me and let me cry on their couch multiple times. They invested in me, and believed that I could grow. They’ve watched me fail and mess up, but still think that I have worth.
I’ve known Rich and Vanessa for a little over two years now and I can’t begin to even tell you how important they are to me or how much I love them. I’ve gone on family vacations with them, spent the night at their house too many times to count, and I get to eat family dinners at their table.
I count them as my family, and they count me as theirs.
Now, if I could have pictured what my life would look like with them in it 10 years ago- on one of those days when I sat at my bedroom window and prayed as hard as I could for a family to offer me a safe, loving place- I wouldn't even be able to believe how amazing it is.
A few months ago I made the connection for the first time between that prayer I prayed relentlessly for years and Rich and Vanessa. I thought about them, and all they've done and I was so glad that I never gave up asking God for the impossible. It took years for me to see the answer, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Rich and Vanessa are it and that they are a gift from God to my life. Today I am so thankful that for years I continued to pray, even when there seemed to be no way it would be answered, and when there was seemingly no hope, but I kept asking God for it anyway.
It took 18 years, but it was more than I could have even imagined.
In Romans 4:18-25 it says , Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness". The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
This is one of my favorite passages in the bible. If you look at the beginning it says “against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him.” Think about that for a minute, against all hope that it would come true, in hope that it would, Abraham believed and because of that he became the father of many nations.
There are plenty of situations where it will seem impossible that a prayer you have or something God has told you will come true. It will seem to go against all hope. When that happens, IN HOPE believe that it will happen.
Against all hope that whatever it is will happen, in hope believe.
Abraham didn't waver in unbelief, and because of that he was strengthened- and that gave glory to God. Against all hope that I would find a family to fit into, I kept praying and kept hoping and I found Rich and Vanessa. I am convinced that whatever it is in your life that you are hoping against hope for, God will be faithful.
Ephesians 3:20 For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.