“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14)
So many people that I have interacted with in the past week seem to be waiting for answers and direction for something. A new job opportunity, a house, physical health, a baby, a relationship… whatever it is, it’s been covered in focused, intentional, desperate prayer. I have been praying for some of these things for others and for my family as well. But, we can put expectations on God; we can give Him an “ideal timeline” of when our prayer should be answered by. We can get tired, restless… hopeless. Ever notice this pattern happen in your life?
I trust you God… You hear my cry for help! (Psalm 40:1).
I won’t get tired of praying, I will pray without ceasing! (1 Thess 5:17).
I will try to be excited for my friend who… just got pregnant, found a house, got that perfect job opportunity, was healed from their disease… I’m not jealous, Lord. Or am I?
Maybe I’m doing something wrong.
How long should I keep praying for this? Are you even listening God?
I have been praying for the same thing for years, and I still don’t have an answer… Maybe I’m not supposed to have a baby… be in this relationship… be healed.
Maybe God doesn’t actually love me…
Is God even real?
If you have ever doubted the effectiveness of your prayers, or your worthiness to receive answers, or your faith in the Creator… you are not alone. Some of the prophets and pillars of faith, in Scripture, struggled with the same things.
Jeremiah– “Even when I cry out and call for help, He shuts out my prayer” (Lamentations 3:8).
Habakkuk– “How long, O LORD, must I call for help? But you do not listen!” (Habakkuk 1:2).
Job– “I cry to you, O God, but you don’t answer. I stand before you, but you don’t even look” (Job 30:20).
David– “Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief” (Psalm 22:2).
What do you notice, though? None of these individuals gave up on their relationship with God. They persisted, they hoped, they… waited.
When my wife and I disagree or argue about something, I don’t give up on her, stop talking to her, or lose trust in her; I stay, and we work through it. I see her intense love for me, even in the midst of contention. Sometimes, when we have waited for “long enough” to hear from God, we give up… we get anxious… intense FEAR sets in… we forget about all of the good times, his faithfulness, his provision… the reason we decided to give our lives to Him in the first place.
God will answer your prayers, God will answer my prayers… but I believe it will be in His timing, according to His Wisdom and will. God’s wisdom far exceeds our understanding or perspective. He loves us TOO MUCH to respond to prayers before we are able to carry the responsibility of the answer to them. There may be something that you or I need to develop in our lives in order to be ready for the answered prayer- the fulfilled promise! He may actually be “waiting” for us… Be ready for all kinds of answers:
“Wait, and trust me…”
“Be faithful with what you have right now.”
“Get rid of that thing in your life that is hurting your relationship with me… I want to have your full devotion… I want to hear you clearly, but your sin in taking priority over me.”
Don’t give up on God! Keep praying! When we persist in our relationship with God, and choose, resolve, decide to trust Him… we will find that He is faithful and when we look back, we will see that He had perfect timing.
Jeremiah– “Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning” (Lamentations 3: 21-23).
Habakkuk– “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength” (Habakkuk 3:18-19).
Job– “God blessed Job’s later life even more than his earlier life” (Job 42:12).
David– “He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me” (Psalm 23:3-4).