Thursday, July 18, 2013

Surprised by answered prayers

Amy and I have prayed many prayers over the past two years. Some have been about survival of the crisis we have lived, while others have been about provision, direction, etc. What's funny is that even after all God has done for us, I still get surprised from time to time that He answers our prayers. Seems crazy, but I admit it's true.

There have been days that I have begged God to show up and do something. Other days I have prayed for the strength to wait on His provision. Other days I have laid before Him very "selfish" prayers concerning material things, etc. Amazingly, He always shows up.

He responds in one of three ways: Yes, No, or Wait. When He is silent, I have come to realize this is not necessarily a "No," but maybe a "Wait." His"Yes" may not appear exactly as I asked, which is good because I have such a limited perspective. My disclaimer is that if I pray something to God and He has something better in mind, then by all means, please give me Your best God!!

God doesn't get in as big a hurry as I prefer sometimes, so the time period between my request and His answer is a tough, but critical time of growth and trust. The last thing I want to do is get impatient and try to take matters in my own hands.

Reading through 1 and 2 Samuel, Saul did this often. He got tired of waiting on the LORD to answer and made decisions without God's direction. Many others did the same throughout Scripture. It never turned out well for them, but despite their consequences, God's faithfulness, grace, compassion, and mercy was right there with them.

Since January 2013, God has answered so many of our specific prayers, related to career, school, friendships, and other important decisions in our life. Even this week, He answered several prayers and showed up in ways that overwhelmed me with gratitude and excitement. It's remarkable and humbling that He sees fit to answer my prayers, or even bothers to.

Something Amy and I have learned over the past two years is that prayer is a privilege and is like oxygen. We desperately need it and want to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. We have come to realize that when we pray to the LORD, the time between our request and His answer is a critical time of growth, trust, excitement, difficulty, and faith building.

Amy and I still have "unanswered" prayer requests, but we are doing all we can to wait with joy and anticipation. We know He will answer in His time, which is always perfect. We can never say God has not been present in our lives - He has proven faithful over and over, time after time! That's what keeps us going strong and never giving up.

Expect God to answer your prayers - either with a yes, no or wait. Wait on Him. Trust His heart and promises, even when your emotions are screaming the opposite. Don't be surprised, though, when He answers You, even in ways that exceed what you were asking. Who knows, He may even throw some "surprises" in for you that make you laugh, and possibly cry, all at the same time. Man, He is so good.

Isaiah 40:31 (Holman Christian Standard Bible) (HCSB)

31 but those who trust in the Lord
will renew their strength;
they will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary;
they will walk and not faint.

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