BE PATIENT WHEN GOD DELAYS
We are often perplexed at why God doesn’t speedily answer some of our prayers. I am not talking of situations where we are praying amiss, sin is preventing us from being blessed or the devil is standing on some other grounds to hinder our miracles. Yes, there are occasions when we are responsible directly or indirectly for not receiving what God has promised us as stated in Isaiah 59:1-2.
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (KJV).
There are also times when contrary powers, using human or spiritual agents, delay our expectations. The Bible gives an example from the life of Daniel. He had been praying for three weeks and an angel appeared to him. This is what he said:
… “’Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia.'” (NLT)
A territorial power had held up the angel despatched by God in response to Daniel’s prayer until a higher-ranking angel intervened.* But in the cases I’m concerned about, you know you have prayed through. The indications are there. You have peace in your spirit about the matter. God is constantly assuring you that He will do it, for instance, through direct words of prophecy from other believers or scriptures He quickens in your heart. Yet, the miracle does not manifest.
This is a common experience among believers. Many will tell you that the issue in question should have been resolved years ago but all they have are the promises of God. Abraham felt that way. He waited twenty-five years before God gave Him his son, Isaac. Within that time, God sometimes came to reaffirm His promise.
On one occasion, Abraham laughed because of how old he and his wife had grown. He more or less told God to just preserve Ishmael and he would be satisfied (Genesis 17:15-18). What was that? The father of faith seemed to be losing confidence that God would come through and asked for the sustenance of his “bird in the hand”.
And how did Ishmael come about? Sarah brought up the idea that since having her own biological child had proved elusive, her husband should get her a child through her maid, Hagar (Genesis 16:1-3). But even before Ishmael was born, conflict arose in the family due to the changed relations introduced by Sarah’s arrangement (vs 4-6). It continued after Isaac, Sarah’s son, was born. Eventually, Abraham had to take the heart-breaking step of sending Ishmael and his mum away not only due to the conflict but because they were not originally part of God’s programme (Genesis 21:8-14).
We just need to hang in there when God has given us His word on a matter. Trying to make it happen by ourselves can complicate our lives and those of other people as we’ve seen in the story of Abraham. I’m not by any means saying it is easy to just stay and wait. But we have resources in this day and age which Abraham didn’t have. We have the written word of God. We also have the indwelling Holy Spirit and brethren who can uphold us through prayer and Bible-based counsel. We should take full advantage of these resources to encourage ourselves when the situation depresses us.
The good thing is that God knows the end from the beginning. He is also the Master of the universe. So it’s impossible that He will be late in the real sense of it. He only seems late to us because we have a different way of reckoning time from Him. We see this in the singer’s address to God in Psalm 90:4.
“For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night” (KJV).
We also don’t see the whole picture. Perhaps, there are things God wants to accompany the miracle and He’s fashioning them out or there are circumstances He wants to put in place before the miracle. It could also be that God, by His Spirit, wants to prepare us to be able to faithfully steward what we are asking of Him. Surely, we don’t want to be swept away by the miracle from God Himself.
Therefore, there’s no chance that God’s blessing will be useless when it arrives or fall short of its purpose. It will meet the need for which God sent it and will amaze us in how beneficial and suited to us it will be. I have seen this happen in many instances like marriage, job search and material blessing because God specialises in making everything beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Scriptural references: (KJV)
“The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.”
“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”
*If you are experiencing delays and setbacks due to sin or demonic attacks, repenting of one’s sins and asking God for pardon will settle the first case. The second requires persistence in prayer, sometimes accompanied with fasting. If the problem continues, bringing those with higher anointing into the matter would be helpful.
Father, thank You for loving us so completely. Help us to be right with You and to know that You are working out the thorny issues we are facing. Help us, Lord, to align ourselves with Your programme for our lives and Your timing for You are a faithful God and You will surely perfect the things that concern us. This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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