When Answers To Prayer Are Delayed
Part 1 Answers Delayed Due To God’s Perfect Timing
If I were God, (____) would happen NOW!…have you ever thought that? If I were God Zachariah and Elizabeth would have had their prayers for a child answered LONG before they were old. After all, verse 6 talks about their character; “Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly.”
Why did God make these two amazing people wait? At least if they had to wait for God’s timing they could have had it a little easier. Instead they actually had to suffer shame and disgrace; and that when they were such a great and godly couple. Shame and Disgrace, those were Elizabeth’s words in v 25 “The Lord has shown me favor and taken away my disgrace among my people” In that culture infertility meant God was against you, that somehow you had missed His favor; the Jewish people strongly (and rightly) believed “children are a heritage from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3-5) Those unable to conceive were shamed and disgraced and everyone wondered what they did to make God angry with them that they would not deserve the blessing of children.
Godly People Had To Wait For His Perfect Timing
A natural response to ANSWERED prayer is “The Lord has done this for me”, however we often see UNANSWERED prayer as God’s rejection of us; and those around us may also have that attitude. We may look at seemingly Godly people and wonder why they are sick or poor or divorced or have a troubled child. This is not a Biblical pattern. Many of the Biblical characters we look to as mighty men and women of God had to wait for His answer. The answer came, but in His timing and for His plans and purposes…something we often don’t see until much later.
- Noah was told to build an ark and worked on it for over 100 years before the rain finally came.
- Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years after God’s promise to Abraham that he would father a great nation. 25 years before the promised son was born.
- Joseph waited in prison 13 years for God’s vision to be fulfilled.
- David was anointed as king but had to wait OVER 20 YEARS to finally get the throne.
I’ve given much thought and not enough prayer to Pastor Saeed, the American pastor who has now been in a horrible Iranian prison for 2 years. He has been tortured, separated from his family, near death many times…many are praying…why is he not rescued? We can only trust that God is with him and this has to do with God’s timing. His wife seems to hold strong faith, would I do the same?
Why Me God?
I can’t imagine how Zach & Liz stayed righteous and faithful and blameless with this huge guilt, shame and question hanging over their heads…why me God? Their story, however, gives us great hope that these times of waiting are important. When the Bible talks of Jesus birth it says “In the fullness of time”. I’ve spoken with a number of women who suffered this heartache of infertility. Many have felt the same shame and disgrace, wondering why God didn’t answer their prayers, what was wrong with them? Why are so many babies aborted or “given” to families who abuse or don’t love them and why, when my heart is so full of love and desire for a child, are my prayers unanswered? These are hard and painful questions that often lead to depression and self destruction.
Others are waiting for a spouse, single and desiring to be married or waiting for a spouse or child to be saved. Still others are waiting for physical or mental healing or deliverance and yet it comes to others but not to them… Why God, Why!
The Waiting Times Are The Times To Trust God
The waiting times are times for us to trust God and pray for His plan and purpose to be revealed. This is not an easy task but we see from the incredible miracle of John the Baptists life, that God’s timing was everything. Trusting God means staying connected to Him, not going into the flesh (see Galatians 5) and making sure we commune with our heavenly father through prayer and reading His word, sometimes this is a moment-by-moment activity.
Phil & I enjoy the ministry of Dr. David Jeremiah who reminds us in his post, “Time Trials”
“There’s an interesting dichotomy in the book of Psalms that illustrates the “time trials” of life. In reading the Psalms, we run across phrases like the end of Psalm 27: “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He will strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” Yet the same authors who tell us to “wait on the Lord” also ask, “How long . . . ?” (Psalm 13:1, 35:17)
We’re told to patiently “wait on the Lord”; on the other hand, we are impatient people with urgent needs. The secret is placing ourselves in His hands and pacing ourselves according to His timetable.”
Father, I pray that Your plans and purposes will be revealed and accomplished in my life and the life of my family. Forgive me for my lack of faith, giving into fear, doubt, and even anger when you don’t immediately answer my prayers. Increase my faith where I am weak. Your will be done in my life, in the same way it is done in heaven.
How about you? Are there unanswered prayers in your life? How do you respond? Have you had delays in answers and later seen God’s plans and purposes?