As I have gone on my faith journey there have been times when I have prayed fervently for God to answer my prayers and I have always encountered one of three answers; Yes, No, or Wait.
If I hear yes then I know God has prepared me for whatever He is bringing me toward on my journey. My next prayer is that God will guide my steps as we go forward.
Sometimes, I hear no as an answer. Depending on how well I am listening to God will depend on how well I react. I have been grateful every time I understand why God says no, but it doesn’t always come that easily. I didn’t listen when God told me a relationship with a young man was not to go forward and I came within weeks of marrying him. It was a difficult time afterward, but over 20 years later I praise God for knowing more than I thought He did.
Then there is the answer wait. Wait is the hardest answer of all I think. When God says wait, it feels like yes and it also feels like no. I think of the “Spiritual Giants” in the Old Testament who were told God had plans for them, but then had to wait years, even decades until His timing was perfect. For example, Joseph was told that everyone would bow to him, yet he had to wait thirteen years, including time in prison, until it was time to rule. (See Genesis 50).
I think of Abraham who became a father for the first time at 100. He certainly waited a long time, yet God had been clear that through Abraham there would be more offspring than stars in the sky. (See Genesis 12-21).
Then there is Moses who wandered for forty years waiting to see the Promised Land (See Exodus and Deuteronomy). Or David who was anointed by Samuel as a young boy but waited twenty years, was hunted down by the then king, Saul, only to finally take his place on the throne in Jeresalem.
Or Job who suffered for many years, not sure why, but always trusting God had a reason.
When I continue to walk in Faith I know that God’s perfect plan is rarely going to fit my schedule, my ideas, or my plan. But I also know from experience, that following His plan will always, always, always be better than my own.
So what about you? When you pray do you think when God says, “Wait, it isn’t time yet.” Or “No, I have a better plan” He isn’t listening? In fact, yes, He is listening. He just sees farther, wider, and more clearly than we ever could.
So trust Him. Even when it is hard, even when you really don’t feel like it. Trust Him. His plan, His ways, His purposes are perfect– for you and for me.
For further encouragement read the biographies of Amy Charmichael, or Corrie Ten Boom, or George Mueller. There are so many people who can give us encouragement as we walk our journeys of Faith. All we need to do is ask someone to share their story with us.