The Promise that Gave Birth to the Church
By Dave Dussault
Northpoint Prayer Ministry
Hello Church Family,
Little Kara, our granddaughter, injured her arm last Friday. She waited bravely through long hours at the medical center, being examined and getting x-rayed. Finally, the doctor mended the arm and made it feel better by applying a splint. Then at home, when all was over, the three-year-old applied her new medical understanding, by “splinting” her baby brother’s head “so much that it will never hurt.” So cute!
And so simple. Kara, of course, had no idea of what was really happening. What that big machine did that took pictures of her little arm. What Mommy and the doctor were talking about, as they looked at the shadowy pictures. Her grasp on this vast and complex world is growing, but it’s as small as she is.
Prayer means coming to God as a child, so trust is essential. The real world is vast, beyond our growing, but helplessly simple human understanding. We really do not know what to pray for as we ought (Romans 8:26a). We pray for what we need or want. But only God knows how things work, where things are going, and what is really best.
As Israel pined away in exile, God gave them a spectacular promise. It came in the form of a prophecy they could barely understand. It’s fulfillment came in a way no one could have expected, through a chain of events that were impossible to anticipate. But God worked through centuries to bring it about.
He also worked through people, their deeds, and their prayers. By faith, a few understood that Jesus was the promised Messiah, God’s Son, but all rejected the idea that He would die on a cross for the sins of the world, rise from the grave, appear to many, then ascend into heaven. But that’s how their prayers were answered and Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled—God’s mysterious plan to send the Holy Spirit to inhabit his people and create his church.
Our grasp on the divine plan is as simple as the medical knowledge of a three-year-old. Yet we still play a crucial part in the unfolding work of God’s kingdom. God does what’s needed to advance his kingdom, as we pray for what we want and feel we need. Like children, we know in part, and our prayers reflect our limited understanding. But God answers in ways that use our prayers and actions to accomplish his great and mysterious plans for good.
Fulfilled prophecy is answered prayer—prayer that God inspires as well as answers. God’s people are not passive, but it is God who makes everything we pray and all we do effective. God cares for you infinitely, but you also play a part in his eternal plans. Out of love, He listens to your prayers with intense love and interest, but He also knows what He’ll accomplish by the way He answers.
As with you and your life at this time, God is the author of this point in Northpoint’s history, too. What seems vague and uncertain to us has a clear and definite purpose in God’s unfolding plan. He’s listening to our prayers and leading our plans. He will guide and He will answer in miraculous ways that we really could never imagine, to the praise of his glory. He’s that amazing!
Northpoint Prayer Ministry