When Prophecy Doesn’t Feel Productive…

Sometimes we plant the seed, sometimes we water it, and sometimes we get to watch it bloom. And the most difficult sometimes: sometimes we will never see it bloom. Sometimes the work of God isn’t meant for us to see the results, until heaven. Sometimes the work of God is what it took in our hearts to obey. Sometimes the real, true work of God is in the step of obedience WE take, not in the amazing result of the person we’re ministering to.

Oof. Sorry. That was a tough pill to swallow, but I’ve been learning—and am still learning— this lesson since college.

I worked at a summer camp in college where we had the kids for a week, and most of the time we never saw them again. We would get to be a part of these huge moments in these kids lives—mountaintop experiences—and never know if it stuck. We would never know if the prayers we prayed for these kids went anywhere but up. We sometimes never knew if the hard, scary things they told us would ever be resolved.

But the important thing I learned was that God knew. And God wasn’t asking me to know the end of the story, He wasn’t even asking me to think about it. He was asking me to obey Him for the week. Obey Him when He asked me to pray, or speak, or listen, or act. And sometimes it was awkward, and weird, and didn’t seem to affect the kid one way or another. But I know God wanted me to step into those spaces anyway. He wanted me to obey; that was it.

And prophecy works the same way. You may say something to someone that was burning in your heart, and they simply say “thanks” and walk away. You may think “God, that was so intensely what you asked me to do but that person gave me nothing back.” 

And to that I say: sorry, prophecy isn’t about us. It’s about God communicating to His people. It’s about us obeying as His vessels, His communicators, His mouthpiece to His people. It’s about learning that what God wants doesn’t always make sense to us as humans, and that’s okay. It’s about learning more deeply how to hear the Holy Spirit, and then acting on His words. It’s about learning to allow the Holy Spirit to work. 

And maybe that thing you say to them won’t make sense to them now, or have an inkling to do with anything they’re going through. But maybe in 2-3 weeks, months, years, it will have a profound impact. And maybe, you’ll never know. 

But in your heart, you will have obeyed God just that one more time. And it will build a trust in you that God loves you and has a plan for you. And like working out, it will build your prophecy muscle, and you will better be able to discern God’s voice in the future. Every time we work the muscle, it gets stronger, and easier, and better.

And beyond working our prophecy muscle, we’ll get to be a step in the process of someone’s faith. We get to be a part of the amazing story of God in another human. And, as for our reward, it’s in heaven. When we get to heaven, we’ll get to see the results of all of the things we’ve done. We’ll get to see the people we talked to and loved and served, praising the Lord alongside us for eternity. And that reward will be greater than anything we’ve received on earth. 

So when you don’t see the fruit, when it’s awkward, when no one notices: just remember, God notices. And when we obey God on earth, great is our reward in heaven. And when we prophesy on earth, we bring the kingdom of heaven to earth in our own communities. So push through the awkward, through the doubt, and say what the Holy Spirit tells you because the fruit exists, we just may never see it.

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