When the Heavens Seem Like Brass

For the last year, ministry has seemed like walking in circles in the dry wilderness.  We've prayed.  Fasted.  Given.  Obeyed.  

And nothing.  

Many times I have felt parched and withered, knowing my encouragement has to come from the Lord, but longing for the showers of blessing of answered prayer.  

I just didn't understand what was going on.  When you pour your heart out to the Lord over and over and nothing happens.  You wonder if your prayers are just bouncing off the ceiling.  

We've had lots of personal answers to prayer regarding our family and things like that, but not very many for our church. And about a month ago I felt burdened like never before.  Church members were discouraged.  We were discouraged.  

Over the last year many members have fallen away. The famous "the Lord is leading us on" line is heard way too often as people we love give place to sin and never darken a church door again.  It wasn't the Lord leading them there.  

And it hurts.  We hurt.  We watch their lives fall to pieces and we can't be there to help gather because they don't. even. see it.  

About a month ago I wrote this post about how to help others in a crisis.  We were grieving the loss of a dear church member, whose children and grandchildren are also faithful members.  They lost their patriarch and we all an older, wiser, godly man who was like a pillar to so many.  

Then one week later, it was like the heavens opened and the clouds parted.  The showers of blessings, the answered prayer that we had been hoping and struggling to expect, came.  

It's been more like a flood, really. 

Three weeks ago on a Wednesday night, a young mother and her children showed up at church.  During the service she came back to the nursery and while holding her crying baby and watching the television screen with my husband preaching on it, she suddenly says to me, "I know what my problem is.  I need to be saved!"

This young mom was gloriously saved, right there, in the nursery and the change in her life has been amazing.  Never in my life have I seen someone "get it" like she has.  It's truly been incredible.  

And then she got baptized the next Sunday.  And brought with her a slew of family members.  Her brother got saved in that service and several of her family members got right with the Lord. The brother was baptized the next Sunday and more people came.

These people have been faithful and "growing like weeds."  Their hunger and drive to do right and obey the Lord would put most Christians and even Bible college students to shame. Overwhelmed and bubbling with joy that God would love them, and motivated by that love, their lives are changing at breakneck speed.  They tell everyone, asking for tracts, booklets, anything to give out to friends and neighbors.  Their excitement is contagious!

Yesterday morning a teenage girl came to Christ.  A teen girl that had NEVER been to church in her life and only wanted to come because she thought churches had communion every Sunday and she thought she'd get to taste wine before being old enough. And even while wrongly motivated to visit a church, the Lord used it all to bring her to Himself.  

We've had to completely rearrange all the Sunday School Rooms, Nursery and Children's Church.  In three weeks we outgrew all of it.  Every chair is full.  I seriously don't know what we're going to do next week in the Ladies' Sunday School class because we can't fit another chair in that room! 

But all this leads to the question of why.  

Why so long, Lord? Why when all we've wanted to do is serve in such a way that would bring glory to You?  

And through it all I feel that Lord has hammered in my heart this matter of faithfulness. 

When the going gets tough and people tire of the going, well, quitting is easy.  Church members do it all the time.  Pastors, too. The average tenure of a pastor is just 4 years. 

Things don't go as easily or quickly or wonderfully as they illusion that they would and so they quit. They move on to greener pastures.  Usually only to find that this field really wasn't any greener than the last.  

And it's not just "Faithfulness", but "Faith-fullness."  

I can be such a "doubting Thomas."  Truly.  I tend to be a pessimist.  When instead I need to be full of faith.  Hebrews 11:6 says, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." 

Faith-fullness...being expectant. Praying and expecting, having faith that the Lord will do what He says He'll do, when He knows it's best to do it. Faith and submission go hand in hand, we expect and have faith, and yet submit to God's perfect timing.
Friend, I don't know what you're going through today. I don't know what you've been praying and waiting for in your life.  

It's hard.  I know.  

But don't quit.  Being faithful and faith-full, both are requirements of God's servants. 

When the heavens feel like brass, keep praying.  Keep on keeping on.  Stay faithful and expect great things from God.  

And in God's time you'll feel those precious reviving and refreshing blessing drops.  And who knows, maybe you'll experience a flood, too.


  1. Oh Laine, how exciting! We've had some exciting answers to prayer at our church over the past couple of weeks too, and it just makes you want to jump up and down for joy, doesn't it?! I saw a huge answer to prayer in January after 19 months of prayers and tears. It's sooo amazing when God finally answers the longing of our hearts. Thanks for sharing :)

    1. Yes, it is SO exciting. And we were definitely doing some jumping up and down, literally! =) So happy to hear that you had a long awaited answer to prayer as well! That is so encouraging, thank you for sharing! =)

  2. Wow! God is so good! So glad to hear that things are going well at GLBC! Love you!


    1. Yes, He most definitely is! Can't wait to see you in a few days...love you, too! =)

  3. Laine, I've followed your blog for a while now, but wanted to say that this was a great encouragement to me today. I am an Associate Pastor's wife and know the transitions and heartaches that can sometimes come with ministry. Praise God for HIS faithfulness, and for how He has (and, I am certain, will continue to) blessed!

    1. Deb,

      Thank you for reading and it's so nice to "meet" another pastor's wife! I appreciate your kind words and yes, praise the Lord for HIS faithfulness. He is so much better to me than I deserve!

  4. Hi Laine, you don't know me, but I've followed your blog for a long time. This post came at a perfect time. This morning I was so discouraged I cried for hours. This very morning I was teetering on the brink of giving up church completely, and I told my husband I can't do it anymore. But God used you just now to remind me He is still here with me..and He wants me to be faithful even in the dark. Wow, God is still good. Thanks so much. *Sophie from NC

    1. You are so right, Sophie, God IS always good. He does love you and will never leave you! Life's trials feel like wandering around in the dark sometimes, but as we all know, stars shine the brightest in the dark...and it's the same with God. It's in the dark times that we realize how much He really is there!

      Thank you for sharing and praise the Lord our trial could be an encouragement to you. Hang in there!

  5. I got chills reading your post. How exciting for your church to experience all of this!! :) I am so glad you are outgrowing your Sunday school rooms!! Thank you for this post . . . you pricked a spot in my heart that needed to be hit. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Taylin,

      Thank you for your encouragement! It is SO exciting to see the Lord at work! What a blessing to be a vessel for His use.

  6. hi! new to your lovely blog and loved this honest post of yours!
    faithful and faith-FULL.. wow, you're so right. i had not heard it put that
    way before.
    and wow, how exciting for you and your church! that's amazing, sounds like
    God is really using your church in so many ways :)

    1. Flor,

      Hard times that stretch our faith are, well, HARD, but I'm so thankful that the Lord teaches us through it. He never wastes a heartache! It truly is thrilling to see the Lord at work. Thank you for your encouragement!

  7. That was a tremendous encouragement and blessing. Thank you!

    1. Tiffany!! Thank you for stopping by! So nice to hear from you. =) And thank you for your encouragement, I'm thankful that what God is doing in our church can be a blessing to you. Take care!

  8. Laine,

    Thanks so much for sharing. I am a pastor's wife, too. We have been in ministry for 15+ years and I totally relate. There are so many things in this post that strike a chord--our faithfulness in walking in obedience to God and KNOWING that He is hearing our prayers(even when it doesn't feel that way) because God's Word says He does--His timing--how He uses and redeems our trials for His glory, blessing others--so much! I am convinced more and more of how much we need each other as believers--to pray, encourage and remind each other of all the things the Lord has done so that we will continually put our trust and hope in Him. Thanks, Laine! Blessings on you and your family! Liz p.s. We have also experiences a sudden surge at our church--makes me wonder if others are too!? www.encouragingyourheart.com

  9. Laine,
    The first thing I thought of was the song Bro. Lester Roloff used to sing..."Just keep on praying, til the light breaks through. The Lord will answer, will answer you. God keeps His promise. His Word is true. Just keep on praying, til the light breaks through. This is so exciting. Your husband was telling me about this at Walmart. God is always there listening to us, watching over us, waiting to reveal Himself to us in His perfect timing. He brings us to a point that we are truly dependent on Him. God uses His Word, other Christians, and circumstances to speak to us. And when great things like this happens, it is for us to say that it could only be God that did it! Not us! So He may get the glory! Not only did He do this for this precious family, He did it for you, for your husband, for your children, and for your church. I love how God works on both ends and in ALL of the details.

  10. Thank you so much for this, Laine! My hubby is also a pastor, and lately it seems like we have been going through the "dry spell" as well. It's been a long winter here in the north, and it just seems like our church folks are exhausted. We've had several families that used to come from an hour away become unable to due to financial difficulties, and recently a dear elderly lady that rented an apartment in our church had to move out (and stopped attending church) due to major roof leaks that suddenly started happening in part of our church building. I know it's especially hard on my hubby, who works himself to death at a full-time job to pay the church bills, then pours his heart into our people the rest of the time, to see the listlessness. But I will keep praying, as I know that God has a blessing right around the corner! Thank you again so much for the reminder, and the encouragement that I needed right now!


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