“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16 NKJV

I sobbed as he abandoned the Lord and ran into the arms of immorality. In time, his infidelities caused him to forget who we really were, and I woke up one day with the sickening sensation I was sleeping with a stranger. My anguished heart had to witness him shrivel in shame as he regressed spiritually.

Why? Why us? Why me?

The why questions that surface can shipwreck our faith. Part of me desperately hunted for an attribute, or a secret privilege, anything that might qualify me for an exemption from the devastating effects of humanity’s fallen condition.

But if all humanity fell after Adam and Eve ate the deadly fruit, then why not me? Why not us? Our status, wealth, and church attendance affected nothing—except to expose where the thoughts and intents of my heart vastly differed from his. I gave up my futile search for an exemption from pain.

The Lord’s refining heat intensified. In all His goodness, He exposed corrupt activities I was unaware of. That same fire tested my heart and my loyalty. The excruciating emotional pain and hardship activated in me new and creative ways to pray. Surrendering to the purifying process deepened my appreciation for Grace and Mercy.

I soon felt humbled and honored that the Shepherd trusted me to partner with Him in going after the one lost sheep, one Jesus loved and shed His blood for. An increasing passion to see this man healed and set free from darkness pushed me to my knees daily. And passion is the key word, for it incorporates heart, soul, and strength. The more I surrendered my frail all, the more I was empowered by divine grace and influenced by the Holy Spirit.

The battle raged on. The stakes high. Standing in the authority of Christ, I aggressively prayed over anything that physically touched the one I loved.

His shoes. I slipped my toes inside and declared God’s Word, that “his feet would not run to mischief.” Proverbs 6:18 KJV

I breathed Scripture onto his neckties hanging in the closet.

My fingers skimmed across his dress shirts, as I declared God’s righteousness over him. Through this, the Father confirmed my righteousness in Christ.

Hugging his pillow to my chest, I prayed a “renewing of his mind” into the very place his head rested and dreams lived. And the Holy Spirit gently realigned my thought patterns.

The outcomes of those prayers? In God’s hands.

The timing of the results? On God’s timeline.

In an agonizing act of my will, I pushed aside emotional turmoil and embraced His Word and His way, trusting He would work everything out for the good …

“Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.” Psalm 126:5 NKJV

Although my world fell to pieces, God’s presence in me remained whole. Although a man un-chose me, the Lover of my soul remained faithful. His ensuing step-by-step guidance proved the Lord never had and never will leave me. His Word and Presence in my heart withstood every storm.

Today, God’s joy thrives in my soul. Prayers answered.

Are you presently praying for a loved one who’s on a destructive path? Do you feel the heat of God’s refining fire? Are you tempted to cry out, “why me?”

The Father can handle all your questions and will equip you to do battle in this season. You are more than a conqueror in Christ.

Pray unceasingly. Keep trusting. A harvest of joy will come.

Copyright © 2017 J. A. Marx. Used by permission.