But sometimes, when you pray for something long enough, even though you keep praying for it, you stop expecting it to be right around every corner. You still pray, with desperation, but maybe not so much with expectation.
Until God breaks through, in a way that only he can. And I think he delights in reminding us that he still moves mountains.
I hope that I never forget even one detail of the night I saw Vince meet Christ. I want to remember being at the district youth group retreat, hearing the speaker give an altar call, praying for Ally and yet being caught off guard when she went forward. I sat there with tears coming faster than I could even attempt to wipe them away, praying desperately for her and yet not being able to think any coherent thoughts, just emotions and short phrases. I watched as Vince walked from backstage to stand beside her, and I immediately thought of all those in my family who had yet to meet Christ. And I kept watching, and crying, and praying, until the speaker asked those who needed to surrender something to Christ to put their hands up, and Vince raised his.
There are so many moments of that night that are so clear in my memory - standing for worship only to hit my knees with my face to the ground. Grasping Kristin's hand because I needed something to hold on to, and hearing her pray for Ally and Vince, prayers that echoed my heart in words I couldn't have formed just then. Holding Ally and telling her just how much I love her and have been praying for her. Turning around to the sound booth to search for my brother's face, only to see him standing in worship with his hands and face lifted toward heaven. And later, seeking him out because I needed to hug someone who understood just what I was feeling. Finally being able to tell Vince just how long I had been praying for him. And falling asleep with a headache from so many joyful tears, bursting with gratitude to God for what he had done.
God is always working, even when we can't see it. Our prayers are always answered, even when the answer or the timing isn't what we would have chosen. God is still in the business of holding back the waters, tearing down the walls, and calling people to himself.
And when God breaks through - well, that's something worth experiencing.