We live in a society where we want our requests to be granted in an instant. Social media and societal influences affect our lives, even if we don’t know it is. In this era of Instagram and instant noodles, sometimes we find ourselves expecting our prayers to be instantly answered on-demand as well.
We pray and pray for the deepest desires of our heart – for a promotion, or a new job, or for recovery from illness, for a life partner, for anything – and when it doesn’t happen in the time frame we want it to, or society expects it to, we tend to lose hope in God.
When my sister and I ask our parents for things or permission to do something, they either answer with a YES or a NO. Regardless of whatever their answer is, they would always tell us to accept it equally. NO may not be the answer we wanted to hear, but it was still an answer and the final verdict we had to follow, and we had to accept is as easily as we would have a YES.
I like to believe that God has two answers : YES, or WAIT, BECAUSE I HAVE SOMETHING BETTER PLANNED FOR YOU.
Patience and trust can be a tiring ordeal. Many times, this ‘waiting time’ feels like ‘wasting time’, but God makes us wait for a reason, and he allows opportunities and blessings to happen in His timing.
It reminds me of when Martha and Mary asked for Jesus when Lazarus fell seriously ill. Perhaps they looked about anxiously for signs of His arrival. Perhaps with every knock on the door and the sound of shuffling feet outside their home, they thought it might be Jesus finally appearing to save their brother.
But Jesus didn’t come.
The funeral service had been over for 4 days when Jesus finally came to town.
I appreciate Martha for how human she was, how honest and blunt she was for telling it like it is when she told Jesus “If You had been here, my brother would not have died.” This is a natural response. Even I would have been this upset and mad if the only person who I knew could have saved him waltzed into the scene when it was way too late.
While her initial doubt was much like mine, the faith and certainty that followed it was unlike me.
When she said “Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You”, I wonder what she expected at this point. I mean, her brother had been dead for 4 days after all, what did she expect would happen now?
And yet, with just a word from Jesus, Lazarus’ spirit returned to his body, and he opened his eyes, almost as if he’d just woken up from a deep sleep!
Jesus had bypassed the simple healing of His sick friend in order to perform the far greater miracle of bringing him back to life!
Similarly, when Mordecai uncovered an assassination plot on King Xerxes, the King’s life was saved, but Mordecai was forgotten. His only reward was that his name was recorded in the King’s chronicles.
Later in the story, when Mordecai was to be executed due to the conspiracy plotted by the King’s wicked official, Haman, God decided that Mordecai’s delay was now over. As a result, the King ended up preparing a handsome reward for Mordecai and chose Haman to do the honors and parade him around town, letting everyone know who Mordecai was and what he had done!
Waiting for God’s timing may also give us a greater miracle than we had hoped for.
I read somewhere that the bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants we know of. At first, they appear quite slothful. The bamboo is part of the grass family and doesn’t have any branches, so depending upon the soil and the climate, it emerges very slowly. While there is seemingly no progress above ground, its unique multi-tiered root system is forming taking hold and strengthening its foundation below the ground. And once the roots are ready, some species of bamboo are known to surge upwards as fast as 39 inches in 24 hours!
It is no wonder they are called bamboo ‘shoots’, for the way they suddenly shoot up towards the sky!
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.