Thought for the week – ‘In his Time’ – 13th September.
Close ones may disagree but I think of myself as a pretty patient person, depending on what I am waiting for of course. But how many times have we prayed to God only to feel that he wasn’t listening, or had more important prayers to answer? We have to be patient and keep faith in the fact that he will answer in his own time. If we look at the Exodus reading attached, when Moses freed the Israelites from captivity and slavery, didn’t it take around 400 years for God to answer their prayers? I’m not sure I would have that much patience!
We all know the story of God asking Moses to tell the Pharaoh, “let my people go” and that subsequently the Israelites followed Moses through the parted waves of the Red sea (Reed Sea as known by the Israelites). It is written that the Angel of the Lord went before and behind them to safeguard their passage to the other side. It’s comforting, although it may sound a little whimsical, to imagine us having the protection of Angels when we are in need of help.
God knew when it was the right time to free his people, though at times they must have felt God had forsaken them. Maybe God knew they weren’t ready, they had to go through difficult and trying times just as we do. Was God testing them or training them to cope with the difficult years ahead of them? God never failed the Israelites and he will never fail to take care of us, even if it doesn’t feel like it at times.
I personally have prayed hard for certain things over a long period of time, thinking that things wouldn’t change, only to find my prayers answered four fold. Don’t get me wrong there are many times when my prayers haven’t or may never be answered. I am sure this has happened for many of you. It may be that God has other plans, or the very things that we have been asking God for are not what we really need; only God knows.
Around 15 years ago when I was in hospital the Rev Barry Hobson came to see me, and I explained that God must be fed up of my always asking for his help with something, someone or for me personally. His response was, “if you asked your own father many times for help, what would he say?” (I knew that no matter how many times I asked my dad for help, he would always be there for me). ”So it is with your father in heaven, he cares and loves you and no matter how many times we ask for his help he will always hear you”
I know that we may not always get an answer but it’s comforting to know that he is listening. I am sure we know of friends and relatives that have had serious concerns or worries about love ones, particularly over their wellbeing, and have prayed every day only to have their hopes dashed, but amazingly in such difficult circumstances managed to keep their faith and trust that God knows best. Maybe he’s stretching us and testing that faith. Often, it is in desperate times that people have come to know Christ in the first place. They turn to God when all other avenues have been explored and every path leads down a blind alley, only to be amazed when God answers their prayer, They then go on to read the teachings of the Bible and find out what it’s like being a Christian and knowing that Christ is a real living entity who is around us and engages with us. Does God seek out these people? Is this part of his plan to bring them into his fold to love and protect them? What about those who have a calling or
those with blind faith? It doesn’t matter how; when or why you became a follower of Christ our Lord, I’m sure what matters to him is that you are.
So often we fall short of God’s call to us. I think it comes naturally to most of us to choose our own way of dealing with things, independent of God. This has happened for centuries no matter what race or culture we are from, it is simply human nature. When we learn to trust God rather than trying to cope with everything ourselves, then no matter how hard things seem to be, we need to trust and wait on his timing, after all trust and timing go side by side. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).
When we learn to do this the burden of worry is lifted and we are left with optimism, hope and a lighter and joyful heart.
Lord please show me every day, as you’re teaching me your way, that you do just what you say, in your time.
“I know not by what method rare But this I know, God answers prayer.
I know that he has given his Word Which tells me prayer is always heard
And will be answered soon or late And so I pray and calmly wait.
I know not if the blessing sought Will come in just the way I thought
But leave my prayers with him alone Whose will is wiser than my own
Assured that he will grant my quest Or send some answer far more blessed.”
― Eliza M. Hickok