James 1:2-4 (New International Version)
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Back in 2011, Laura Story wrote one of the most memorable Christian anthems thus far in the 21st century, “Blessings.” For those who don’t know Laura’s “story,” she was a co-writer with Chris Tomlinof the 2004 smash worship hit, “Indescribable” and in 2005 she married her high school sweetheart, Martin Ellington. Within the first year of marriage, Martin began exhibiting troubling symptoms of forgetfulness of simple tasks, inexplicably falling asleep at work, and he grew an inch and a half in one month. The doctors ordered an MRI to attempt to diagnose the root of the problem.
Shortly thereafter, while she was attending a music conference in 2006, she received a call from Martin who had been diagnosed with a brain tumor, which was pressing on his pituitary gland. Doctors successfully removed the tumor, but while he was in the hospital, he contracted meningitis which ultimately resulted in permanent memory loss, partial vision loss, and difficulty walking. As a result, Martin could no longer work, and Laura became the main financial provider for her family.
In 2008, while struggling with anger toward God over her life circumstances, Laura received a call from INO Records in Nashville encouraging her to write a praise and worship album. While her natural inclination was to decline the invitation, know she having a difficult time worship her Creator. However, an INO executive challenged her with the question, “What if God is asking you to write worship songs in the midst of your trials?” It was during this time where she penned the following words:
We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things
Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?
We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel you near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if each promise from Your Word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe
When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win, we know
That pain reminds this hearts,
That this is not, this is not our home…
What if my greatest disappointments,
Or the aching of this life,
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy.
What if trials of this life,
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise?
Reading these isolated words, they are powerful on their own; but knowing Laura’s “story” shows us a connection betweenGod’s Word and our lives.
The truth is: All of us are guilty of praying selfish prayers. We all want God to work in such a way that brings comfort to our lives and answers to our needs, as we see fit. We all want an easy life without conflict, not the James 1:2-4 life. However, life without conflict will yield a life without faith, reflected in prayerlessness. Conflict actually serves to make our stories of God’s faithfulness memorable.
Recently, my oldest daughter, Mikaela, told us she was getting married to an incredible young man who loves Jesus…and who just happens to be one of the two fastest men in the world. While we were initially excited, the reality set in on me that I was still responsible for the last four months of her apartment lease which would cost me over $6,000, including all bills. I need to also state that after this wedding, I don’t just have an extra $6,000 lying around to take care of it. So, we started praying for God’s provision.
If I’m honest, I’ve really been frustrated with this apartment complex because she has had this leak since October 2019 that has been awful and lead to mildew and health issues for her. The third week of February, after months of me being told it was fixed, the leak was worse than ever and I was not feeling like a spiritual giant. As anxiousness and frustration started to overwhelm me, I stopped to pray. In that moment, I was completely at peace. It’s amazing how prayer doesn’t always change your circumstances, but it will always change you.
To make a very long story short, two days later I was contacted by Mikaela’s apartment manager and she told me the apartment needed to let us out of the lease and asked if we would be willing to sign a release form. Uh, yes! Think about this: Before I even knew I needed to get out of this lease, God allowed a life-changing leak, ignited by raindrops to serve as my deliverance. God gave me Blessings Through Raindrops (Literally).
We need to remember the words of Romans 8:28 that God IS working all things together for our good, even when we don’t see. Keep praying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. On a final note: The song “Blessings” won the Song of the Year at the 2012 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards and she was named artist of the year. God brought unexpected provision in Laura’s “story,” and He will do the same for you and me.
About the Author
Kevin Harrison is a phenomenal leader, pastor, and visionary. As President and founder of West Coast Bible College & Seminary, he has revolutionized the way that ministers are trained for the future. Having served as a plethora of leadership positions, he brings a very unique perspective and energy to any environment. Very well educated, Kevin received a bachelor's degree from Southwestern A/G University, a master's degree in religious education from Trinity Seminary, a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from LSU-Shreveport, and a Doctor of Ministry from Luther Rice College and Seminary. Dr. Harrison also serves as Vice President of Refining Fire Ministries, Inc.
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