A 56 year old man glances down at his wife sitting in the pew beside him. He shifts the microphone in his hands as he nervously searches for the words to express what he is feeling. Life over the last 14 months has been a journey he never hoped to travel. He was laid off by an employer he had been with for over 18 years. His youngest son was in a motorcycle accident and spent several months in the hospital healing. Finally, the news came that his wife had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
The hospital bills continued to mount as the fruitless job search continued. He spent so many nights on his knees in prayer with tear stained cheeks. The church family had been nothing but supportive. Meals were delivered and many came to visit his son in the hospital. The ladies of the church had organized a rotation of people to take his wife to her treatments so he could continue with his job search. For so many months, he had wondered how they would pay the bills streaming into the house, yet each month anonymous gifts would come in with just enough to cover the basics: food, mortgage, electric. For months he was angry every time he prayed because the Lord didn't seem to be listening. He wasn't providing a much needed job. He wasn't providing healing for his son and his wife. He needed these things now!
As he lifted the microphone to his lips, his wife squeezed his hand and winked at him. He ran a shaking hand through his salt and pepper hair. Taking a deep breathe he began, "Most of you know my story, so I won't share all the nitty-gritty of it. I just needed to stand today and give a testimony of the faithfulness of our Lord. We have been praying for close to 15 months now that I would find a new job, and I finally got the call this week. I got an offer…we are going to have to move across the country for it, but it is a great position. It is really perfect timing. My wife has just completed her last batch of chemo and our son moved back to his own place last month. If this offer had come 6 months ago, I couldn’t have taken it.
I admit, I spent many nights wondering why my prayers where not being answered. It just didn't make sense to me until now! As I look over this past year, and think of all the help you all have been to us, I see that His hand was in it the whole time! Our bills were paid, our needs were met. We have been so blessed. Anyway, I just needed to share that, and encourage you all to keep on praying, even when it doesn't seem like He hears. I can tell you, he does."
It is pure joy when those fervent prayers are answered the way we prayed. We suddenly are on fire for the Lord and shouting out to all who will listen about the wonderful blessing He has bestowed upon us. But what about when the pray isn't answered, or at least not the way we had wanted it to be. Does that mean we did something wrong? Did we not pray hard enough? Were we not "spiritual" enough? Doesn't Matthew 7:7 say, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find."? So if I am asking and seeking, why am I not getting the results I had hoped I would?
I once heard someone very wise say,
"God answers prayers in three ways,
2) Yes, but not right now
3) I have something better in mind."
Over the next few weeks we will be taking a closer look at prayer. It is amazing to me that I can always learn something new about something I feel I know so well.
What is the Lord teaching you about right now? Would you please share with me?
If you haven't already, I would love for you to follow me!