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    Are You Focusing on God’s Small Answers?

    Ugh! I’ve been so depressed lately and it’s no fun. I don’t know about you girls, but every so often, I get sort of overwhelmed and stressed out, and for me, that sometimes leads to periods of minor depression.

    One of the biggest contributors to my recent fight with depression was focus…as in, I lost mine. I know how it started. I got super busy and moved my time with the Lord down on my priority list. I could’ve stopped it there by fixing my schedule, using my time more wisely and putting time with God back at the top of my list, but I didn’t.

    From there, things got worse. There are a lot of really difficult situations going on with students in our youth group right now and, as always, financial hardship for me and my husband.

    When I say difficult situations, I mean hard things. One girl has two friends who are both seriously ill—one has a brain tumor and no medical insurance, and the other was diagnosed with a brain aneurism. Another one of our students is homeless right now. Yet another student is facing a serious situation involving her family.

    As I spent less and less time with the Lord, these situations began to look more and more hopeless. I became angry and frustrated that God was causing our students—His kids—to suffer like this. I was frustrated with His timing and why He didn’t seem to be acting more quickly in these situations.

    How would these students ever grow in their faith if God didn’t answer their prayers?

    Then on Friday morning, God woke me up with the idea to text a friend of mine who’s a physician’s assistant to ask about free or super low-cost medical clinics where the girl with the brain tumor might be able to get some treatment. I got all the information from my friend, and gave it to the student to give to her friend at school on Monday.

    At first I didn’t see what God was trying to show me. I just thought, Yeah God, that information’s great, but it doesn’t remove the tumor. Then God started to show me the little ways that He is answering these prayers—in His way and in His time.

    • On Thursday evening, the homeless young man spent the night with a family from our church so he didn’t have to sleep in the park.
    • The girl with the brain tumor asked our student if she could accompany the student to their school’s Christian club, and she has medical options now.
    • The student with the serious family situation has a youth pastor who works with social services in Southern California (that’s my husband), and he can give her answers and resources her family might not know about.

    These still aren’t the answers I want. I want the “Poof! Everything’s all better now!” answers, but that isn’t always the way God works. If we adjust our focus, though, we can see Him moving in even the most desperate and hopeless situations. To break my depression, I needed to let God help me focus on the small answers to prayer instead of spending all my energy waiting for the big, final answers.

    Girls, has changing your focus ever helped you in stressful or depressing circumstances?

    Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. —Romans 12:12

    May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. —Romans 15:13

    More Stories Like This on Project Inspired:

    Sharing the Gospel: Answering Questions from Agnostics
    “What’s at the Heart of Idolatry?”
    “How Do I Start a Conversation About God?”

    Jenn Arman
    Jenn Arman is a youth pastor, freelance writer and blogger. She was born in San Diego, California and raised 2 hours north east in the Inland Empire where she lives with her husband David and their cats. Jenn desires to bring glory to God and a healthy dose of reality to Christians through both writing and preaching. Visit jenniferarman.com for more on her work. You can also connect with her on www.facebook.com/JenniferArman.Writer and https://twitter.com/JennArman

    7 COMMENTS

    1. This article is a small answer to prayer for me. I’ve been in a depression for months now. My faith goes up and down constantly. Looking at the little things God has done helps to refocus me. I’ll make a list of answered prayers this week and try to be much more positive. Thanks for this article 🙂

    2. Thanks for this! After a talk at church with my youth minister and several other students last night I came to a similar conclusion. Prayer DOES WORK, I just need to pray and watch for what God does without telling Him what to do. It may mot be the quick and easy answer, But God does have a plan. And I like the idea AllisonGrace about making a list. I want to try that:)

    3. Thank you so much. This is just what I needed to hear, I am loosing focus and need to pay attention to the small answers. Even when life can be overwhelming, we can’t get distracted because this is when God can help us the most.

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