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God’s Timing

Much is rightly made of persistent prayer. Persevering in prayer for the many and various situations we find ourselves in, whether it be health, finance, work, or family. Jesus tells us to persevere and many of those reading this ‘Seed’ can testify to God’s supernatural intervention. But what if God doesn’t deliver?

It seems almost heretical to mention this. But there are times when God doesn’t deliver us, times when He doesn’t come through in the way that we expect and the time for Him to intervene passes us by. Here are some examples:

1. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were firmly tied and put into the blazing furnace (Daniel 3:22b-23).

2. Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, but stayed where he was two more days and Martha said to Him ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died’ (John 11:21).

3. Job, who was blameless, upright, feared God and shunned evil, was allowed to go through suffering (Job 1:12)

4. The Apostle Paul pleaded with God to take away his thorn in the flesh, but God said ‘My grace is sufficient for you’ (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Now we could say that it was OK in the end. The three young men were delivered in the fiery furnace; Lazarus was raised from the dead; Job had more at the end than the beginning, and God’s grace was more than enough for Paul. But, in doing so, we can miss the point.

God is God. He chooses to do what is just and righteous in His eyes. There are many occasions when our prayers for healing aren’t answered in the way we expected. Loved ones may have suffered and died, sometimes in very upsetting ways, despite much prayer. Why? Because God does what He alone knows to be best.

After Job had suffered so much he had so many questions to put to God about why. God answered him in Job 38-41. Here is the conversation in Job 40:1-5: ‘The Lord said to Job: ‘Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him! Then Job answered the Lord: ‘I am unworthy – how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer –twice, but I will say no more.’

Not really an answer is it! But do we really expect that the Lord of the universe should need to explain His actions to us? God is just, righteous, holy, kind and loving. His ways are far beyond our ways. Yes, let’s persevere in prayer. Let’s boldly come before His throne of grace. But let’s also recognise that, if God chooses to say ‘No’, then it’s because He knows best and is utterly trustworthy. In all the four examples I’ve given there was a reason for not answering those prayers in the way expected.

Whatever you or your loved ones are going through at the moment, will you place your full trust in Him and depend on His grace being sufficient for you as His power is made perfect in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9)? Job was able to say, ‘Even though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him!’

Prayer: Dear Lord, I will continue to persevere in prayer about the matters so close to my heart. Yet I choose to recognise that whatever happens You remain trustworthy and true. I acknowledge that Your ways are not my ways, or Your thoughts my thoughts. There’s so much I can’t understand this side of eternity. But whatever happens I place my trust and hope firmly in You. Amen.
 

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Scripture

"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you."
2 Corinthians 12:8-9a, NIV

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Today's Writer

Philip Asselin Philip is on the associate ministry and teaching teams at Glyndley Manor. He, and his wife Gillian, attended the second Healing Retreat at Glyndley Manor in 1992, and were greatly helped. They have two grown-up children, a daughter living locally and a son in California. They have two young grandchildren and one step-granddaughter. Their desire is to see people set free to serve God.

Philip Asselin


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