Its Christmas again. At this time of the year you or someone you know may be feeling afraid, angry confused, depressed, discouraged, embarrassed, empty, frustrated, guilty, hopeless, hurt, lonely, rebellious, sad, tempted, threatened, troubled, used, useless, vengeful, weak or worried?
No matter how you feel I want to bring you words of hope and comfort this Christmas. As you know I always love sharing God’s goodness with you. Jesus loves you and cares about you and wants you to have his love and peace of mind during this festive period.
Recently I heard a testimony that really got me thinking about the importance of God’s timing. It was a mother who had spent 20 years praying for her daughter to be saved. When ten years had passed, the woman became discouraged. After 12 years, she began to question God, wondering what was going on. During the fifteenth year, she started to doubt the value and power of prayer.
By eighteen years, she was seriously thinking of quitting. When 20 years had passed, she had come to the conclusion that her prayers were not working and resolved to quit praying the next day. That very night, her daughter called to announce that she had accepted Jesus as her Savior! Greatly humbled, this mother begged God to forgive her for doubting Him. She was horrified to think that she might have given up her own faith because she failed to see the work God was doing, behind the scenes, in the life of her daughter.
Many Christians struggle with impatience, wondering whether God really listens to or answers prayers. They have failed to reconcile themselves to the fact that God does not go by a human clock or calendar. He operates within the scope of His own divine timing. For God has said, “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint”- Isaiah 40.
Have you ever looked back on an event in your life and in retrospect, realized that God’s hand was at work, even though you did not really see any results at the time? I remember a particular time in my life when I was believing God for something. I prayed and fasted and it looked in the physical like nothing was happening.
I gave up praying on it and shortly after it came to pass. Perhaps you are in that position right now, seriously questioning whether God is really working in your life, but he has promised you this, “I will maintain my love to you forever, and my covenant with you will never fail- Psalm 89:28.
I encourage you to believe that God does listen and act upon ‘your prayers! If you worry that you are not being heard, or God is “avoiding” giving you an answer, you need to see that long before you realize it, God is already at work, changing circumstances and putting things in place. God says
“you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you”- Jeremiah 29:12.
“Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. Isaiah 65:24.
‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know”-Jeremiah 33:3.
This are his promises to you, does that sound like someone who does not care? The bible says, “The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail- Isaiah 58:11.
David said about God, “Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. “I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me! Psalm 66:16-20.
We know that our ways are not the same as God’s ways. The bible says, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). Can this also mean that God’s timing is not the same as our timing? Let’s talk about some of these timing issues.
Throughout the Old Testament, we see countless godly men and women praying fervently for the Messiah to appear. In fact, all of Israel as a nation prayed for this great event to occur, and their prayers covered many generations over hundreds of years. For the vast majority, these prayers were not answered within their lifetime.
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth,” read Hebrews 11.
Does that mean, however, that God did not hear those prayers? Not at all! We know that God did, indeed, send His Son, the Messiah. For the bible says, ” When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in the fullness of God’s time, according to His own schedule – Galatians 4:4.
The Bible contains many other examples of God working within the framework of His own timing. Consider the birth of Samuel: Hannah prayed continually for a child and, though she kept strong in her faith, it must have seemed to her that God “delayed” His answer.
However, God was waiting until the circumstances to which Samuel was called were orchestrated, so that Samuel could fulfill God’s destiny for him. We see the same thing happening again and again-in the lives of Moses, Jonah, Isaac, David, and others. What appears to human eyes as a “failure” in God’s response time is, in fact, merely a time of “invisible preparation,” during which the strategic elements of God’s plan are being put in place, piece by piece, for an ultimate glorious result.
Don’t allow yourself to become like many people in today’s “time-conscious” world who, demand speed and instant gratification in areas as diverse as fast food, amusement park rides, and ultra fast computer modems, and find it hard to adapt to an unseen plan and supernatural timetable set for them by a loving Father, who have said in his word, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29:11-12.
I challenge you to trust that God will take action in a “timely” manner in your situations. You must remember, though, that He carefully considers the timing of each event, measuring it against His own plan for the great scope of things. Remind yourself, too, that He operates according to an eternal calendar calculated to bring about the most good in your life.