At work this week, one of my patients was really sick, angry and confused. It didn’t take long before I turned from friend to enemy. And then it got ugly before it got better.

The whole thing wreaked of tragedy and helplessness. My patient was so lost, and I felt like a powerless bystander, watching someone fall apart, when what I wanted to be was an Ambassador of Hope.

I wanted the situation, her life, to be different because I was there, and I brought God with me.

If I am really honest though, what I wanted was to know I mattered. To witness the evident change that resulted from my participation in the situation. 

That’s my usual preference: to see the impact I make. To be able to hold up in my mind the images of Before I Arrived and After I Arrived. To have my existence and my talents validated as effective.

Most of the time, however, we won’t have that luxury. We won’t be able to see the difference we make in people’s lives. In a crisis or an everyday situation, we may often leave the person’s life before the change takes root and grows.

But God says faith and obedience are success, not whether or not I produced measurable evidence of change in someone else. 

Not only that, I can never underestimate the power of the Spirit inside of me.

The situation at work this week was bleak. I felt like I failed in many ways. I thought that if I were more powerful or wise, I could have cleverly or supernaturally changed the situation.

What I don’t remember though is that I did change the situation. Just by being there. Bad things didn’t happen that could have happened because I was praying. And good things happened that would not otherwise have occurred because I invited God into the moment. 

How can I be sure? I am a Holy Spirit Smuggler. I take heaven around with me wherever I go. When I walk into a place, the atmosphere shifts. It improves.

It’s not because of my charisma or charm. It’s because of a God who is very much alive on the inside of me, a God who is my friend and my life adventure guide, who is moving and shifting things I can’t even see.

And if you are living a forgiven life with Jesus as your friend and leader, the same is true for you.

So instead of assuming nothing changed because I can’t see it, I’ve begun to assume something changed just because I was there.

I know God can’t help but renew and restore. It’s in his nature. So if I go somewhere that needs healing, I have to assume he is coming along for that very purpose.

I may not have a powerful story to tell afterward, but I am growing in confidence that when I show up, God shows up. Because we are in this together.

And he loves to let his light shine from the eyes and hearts, the words and arms of his children to a world that needs him. Even if we never see the change, we can feel his pleasure. And that’s success.

{If this encouraged you, there’s more where that came from. Subscribe to the blog today, and I’ll send you my two  eBooks totally FREE to help you grow in hope and live out your purpose.}

4 thoughts on “When You’re Sure God Isn’t Using You

  1. Thank you for such an encouraging post, Sarah. Many times (okay, most of the time), I want my impact to be measurable and visible to me and others. I want a “stats page” showing how action #1 impacted person #4 and person #6, and so on, probably so I can concentrate my attention on repeating action #1 and interacting with persons #4 & #6. A bit silly, but true. But as you say, we may not see the difference we’ve made, but we’ve made a difference simply by being there. We’re Holy Spirit Smugglers! (I love that phrase. 🙂 )


    1. Laura, thank you for the encouragement in return. It’s funny how we need these stats for reassurance, but really, it’s just evidence we don’t value obedience much. :/ It’s painful and convicting, frankly, but the adventure of following and trusting is worth the pain of change.


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