Dear reader – Perhaps you have been talking with God, pleading with Him, begging Him and maybe almost shouting at Him to answer your prayers about a need or request. The truth is … He hears you. It may not feel like He does since you’ve been waiting for weeks, months or maybe even years for God to answer that prayer! It’s frustrating, it’s confusing. Then you begin to ask all the ‘why’ questions and shout out the ‘I don’t understand!’ statements.
Before you allow yourself to be saturated in discouragement – I want to encourage you to get to know your God more intimately. I thank God that He never changes (Malachi 3:6). Could you imagine if God changed? We would be in big trouble! But our gracious God who is always listening and always understanding our struggles wants what is best for His children. His promises can never be broken. We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) so let’s take a closer look at How God has dealt with them in times past.
God’s timetable runs differently to yours and mine. Take Joseph for example – God had a big plan for Joseph and wanted him to be in a position of leadership and influence in Egypt. Do you remember how long it took for Joseph to get there? He was sold into slavery by his brothers when he was young. He was falsely accused by Potifar’s wife and thrown into prison for a long time. I’m sure Joseph would have been pleading with God to take him out of that prison, but maybe to him God didn’t seem to hear. When the cup bearer was let out of jail to serve the king once again, Joseph pleaded with him to ‘remember me and get me out of here’! The cup bearer remembered Joseph two years later! Why God? why two years? God wants to use you. Had Joseph been let out of prison any time before the two years ended, he would not have been given his position of leadership in Egypt.
The apostle Paul was God’s greatest apostle to the Gentiles. Paul wanted to go to Rome and then to Spain with the gospel. How did God get Paul to Rome? By having him imprisoned on a false charge. The governor, aware of Paul’s innocence, kept him in custody with hopes for a bribe. Acts 24:26 tells us that the governor left Paul imprisoned for over two years! Again – the ‘why’ comes back! Why God? Why two years? There is no such thing as instant godliness or instant spiritual maturity. In our society everything is almost instant. But just as it takes years to grow a strong tree that bears good fruit, so it also takes years to build a godly character and qualities that one requires to be an effective servant of the Lord.
What about David when he was running from cave to cave while Saul seemed to be enjoying the comforts of his palace? Wasn’t Saul the bad guy? David was seeking the Lord and walking by faith! He spared the life of Saul when he had the chance to slay him. Saul continuously tried to kill David without any cause. Sometimes you might wonder why you walk by faith yet those who live far from the Lord seem to prosper. God has not forgotten you. David was anointed King in his teens. Yet he did not sit on the throne until years later. Through those years of living in caves and running from Saul, David learned to wait upon God.
Even though sometimes it seems that God has forgotten you as we have seen with Joseph, Paul and David who were in unpleasant circumstances, God is building maturity into your life and allowing you to trust Him fully for you to be an effective servant. We are bound by time – minutes, days, weeks and years. We see what is in front of us – God sees the future and wants to use you in ways that you couldn’t have imagined. Although your prison cell is cold, uncomfortable and rotten – God has allowed you to be there for a reason. Ecclesiastes 3:11 – ‘He has made everything beautiful in its time’. Trust that the very things God has planned for you will be yours in the right time and in the right way. The same God who worked in the lives of Joseph, Paul and David will do the same for you. God builds things to last – which may take time. Even when your circumstances seem contrary, you can count on the God who loves you and truly wants what is best for you.
Psalm 103:11 “As High as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His loving kindness toward those who fear Him”.