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The Prayer of Not Yet

Beloved Daily Guideposts writer, Elizabeth Sherrill, shares a moving life lesson.

A woman's praying hands
Credit: Halfpoint
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For with God nothing shall be impossible. Luke 1:37

Going through yet another long-unopened box in the attic as my husband John and I prepared to leave our home of 50 years, I came upon an old photo album, leather binding cracked and discolored. In capital letters on the first page, in my own handwriting, were the words “CAR TRIP TO YELLOWSTONE.”

The next page held some faded photographs of various stops in Pennsylvania and Ohio. But there John came down with excruciating shingles, and we didn’t make it to Yellowstone. Now, doubtless, we never would.

But that’s not what I said to myself. Years ago while visiting my sister in Djakarta, I learned a wonderful word: belum (pronounced b’LUM)—”not yet.” There in Indonesia, the word no is avoided whenever possible—too abrupt, too final and unyielding. Belum leaves room for dreams. Asked in a job interview, “Do you have a college degree?” a 50-year-old man who left school at nine will answer, “Belum.” And during a doctor’s exam, if an 80-year-old woman is asked, “Do you have any children?” she’ll smile and reply, “Belum.”

I like to answer my own questions the same way. Have I learned to sew? Speak German? Play brilliant bridge? Belum to them all.

And so as I added the poor ruined album to the movers’ throwaway pile, I used the word that says life is open-ended and nothing is impossible. Have John and I visited Yellowstone?


Let me look beyond limitations of time and space, Father, to the vastness of life in You.

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