By Rachelle Law
Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people would be freed. President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation
As we approach Juneteenth, I find myself thinking of those resilient Christian ancestors who never would have chosen it to take 89 years (1776-1865), for them to receive an answer to their prayers. I can only imagine how they got down on their knees, clasped their hands together, threw their requests at the feet of Christ, and asked Him to do what they could not do. For only a Savior could deliver them.
Imagine their faith. On my coffee table in my living room sits a 4” X 8” block of weathered wood that reads, “I still remember the days I prayed for what I have today.” It is a constant reminder of answered prayer. For some requests, I waited longer than others. I have learned that God does things in His own time, which is the appropriate time. Like our ancestors, I imagine there were times when they felt weak and limited and learned to put their trust in God because they knew His power was limitless.
How long do you wait for God to answer your prayer(s)? What are you doing while you wait?
In the waiting, in what often feels like languishing, we are given the gift of communion with God. He is with us in the waiting: He has heard every one of our prayers, listened to every tear we’ve cried, and kept track of every sorrow (Psalm 56:8). We are not forgotten. We have the greater gift of Christ himself which is knowing that our Savior is all-sufficient, no matter how insufficient we may be. We have the treasure of knowing that He is strong in our weakness and present in our sorrow.
He is not a God that He would lie. He answers prayers.
What have you learned while waiting?
Waiting forces me to come to terms with my weakness. It’s what waiting does to all of us. When we can’t work harder to get what we want, or when we can’t manipulate life to turn out the way we want it to, or when we can’t pay enough money or get enough help to achieve what our heart desperately desires, we are left with the truth of our insufficiency. We’re weak!
As difficult as it continues to be, waiting has pushed me to the edge of myself. It has been there that I have been allowed to see that only Christ is able and the only one who is in control. We aren’t in control, not even a little bit. We must wait on God to act on our behalf because there is nothing we can do but wait. The treasure is to know beyond a doubt that Christ is the only strong One, and that He does not look down on or turn away from our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15). He views our weaknesses as opportunities for His glory to be displayed in our lives (2 Corinthians 12:9).
It’s been difficult and humbling to come to terms with my inability to make anything happen. When I have prayed and longed and hoped and begged and done all that I can; and still there is no change in my circumstances. I have to stop everything and laugh at myself because it is out of my hands. There is nothing else for me to do because the battle is not mine, it’s the Lord’s.
Waiting is something we would prefer to avoid on any level, from waiting for a prayer to be answered to waiting in line at the grocery store. Why? Because waiting provokes the feeling of helplessness and of having to rely on someone else to act on our behalf.
Even if we wait until His second coming for the answer to our prayers, we will still be a rich and blessed people. For since Jesus Christ is all that we have, He is more than enough for every need, every prayer, and every season of waiting that we face.
So, as we reflect and remember that our freedom is not merely a day off work; it is a day to celebrate, acknowledge, and teach Juneteenth. It is a day to claim our freedom and space, a sacred space to honor our freedom, our history, and our autonomy. This day is also called “Juneteenth Independence Day”, “Freedom Day”, or “Emancipation Day”. Remember Juneteenth is more than a hot day in mid-June or a federal holiday (2021), it is answered prayer.