God Answers Prayer...Really
03.12.10 | | Comments
Have you ever had the experience of taking a very specific prayer request to the Lord because you needed an answer that was very exact? A confirmation of something? A ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ on a path of action? Something that you’d prayed and wrestled with day and night? And God answered? Clearly. Specifically. Gave you assurance and the peace that only comes from knowing that you’ve heard from him?
That happened to me yesterday. I’d been wrestling with something for days; a situation that was really bothering me, something I wasn’t able to share with many people to gain counsel, but an issue of serious importance. You know the kind. It was one of those things that really mattered in a big way. God hadn’t been silent in the days leading up to yesterday. In fact, he’d been quite clear. The verses that came to me over and over were Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. So I was trusting; still this was a situation that needed a clear answer.
In the days leading up to yesterday it’s as though I could hear his voice whispering in my ear, “Trust me.” Just that. I did. I’ve learned that lesson several times over in the last year, given the heart attack and near-lethal arrhythmia I suffered last July. There but for the grace of God… So trust has become a recurring theme in my life. And on the one hand, it’s very easy to do. It doesn’t usually take a big step of faith for me to trust God. But sometimes, even in the trusting, you need to hear something more; a word or some type of supernatural assurance that things really are ok and whether or not you're on the right path. I’ve learned to be prepared for either outcome. Yes. No. Go this way. Don't go that way. I’m no theologian but I don’t think 'maybe' is in God’s vocabulary. He speaks clearly and if we know his voice, the reassurance or conviction that comes is unmistakable and calming beyond belief.
Even in that period of trusting though, on a human level, we can agonize over the situation. I don’t think it shows a lack of faith to feel unsure of how things are going to end up; I trust God but I still don’t know what his answer will be or what the outcome will be. That's why it's his will we pray for. I have to recognize that it could go either way and be prepared for that. Because either way, yes or no, God is still God. He doesn’t change. His purposes will be accomplished in our lives regardless of how we may view the situation we find ourselves in. That’s the assurance that comes from knowing him: For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God [Col. 3:3].
So the answer came. That pre-dawn prayer, that crying out to God for direction, was answered. Just hours later. (I must have inadvertently gotten in the prayer express lane.) The answer was very specific. And in this case, in the affirmative. He confirmed what I had hoped for and let me know that things were going to be ok. There’s still the ‘working out’ to do; he doesn’t often present answers like birthday presents, neatly wrapped and tied in a pretty bow. But knowing that he has spoken and that I have heard his voice is enough. As April, one of the women in our front office often says, “Yeah, God!”
What have you struggled with? What’s been burdening your heart? What is the thing that makes you break and causes you to weep before the Lord? We all have something. Whatever it is, seek the Lord with your whole heart. Trust him for the answer. Be specific in your prayer and he’ll be specific in his response. It may take some time for him to speak but he’s never late. He’s always on time.
In the words of Annie Flint’s great hymn of the last century:
He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.
His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.
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