In all honesty, how many times have we prayed for something from God, whether it be: healing, strength, love, needs, desires; then lost faith in Him when we didn't receive it in a timely fashion? I'm reminded of the story of Jonah, a man who was thrown overboard from a ship, then swallowed by a giant fish. Can you imagine the horror of that experience on him; feeling that you would never escape and die a slow death of starvation and thirst?!
Put yourself in his position, what would you do? I'm not sure about you, but I would pray, and earnestly at that; I would probably also go into shock or panic. Now after the first day or possibly even the second of serious prayer, wouldn't you begin to grow discouraged and lose all hope and faith? Jonah was trapped in this fish for three days before the Lord ordered he be spat up on the beach. Can you imagine the overwhelming joy, awe, and faith he must have felt in that moment? Going from a mental state of pure despair to having God's grace and mercy poured out on him?
This is often how I see our relationship with the Lord, asking for growth or anything it may be, and expecting it to be given almost immediately; then when we don't receive what we asked for, we grow discouraged, lose heart, and faith in our God. Oh but once He blesses us with our request, how joyful we become, how our faith increases, and how we claim we knew He would provide all along. How often has something similar to this happened in your own life?
I myself have fallen prey to these thoughts many times, for example, I pray for my marriage on a daily basis; that our marriage will grow stronger and my wife and myself will grow happier and more in love with one another. Not too long ago, my wife and I got into an argument, which got fairly ugly. One of the first thoughts I had was, what's the point in even praying if nothing's going to change? Why waste time praying for something that will never happen? But soon after calming down, I apologized to God for my thought, actions, and my anger; then I began to pray again for my marriage once more.
You see, God doesn't always answer our prayers when we desire them to be. We may feel that a speedy response would be best for us and for our lives, but we're only looking through human eyes and having human thoughts. God, in His infinite wisdom, may be holding off for several reasons. It could be that He has a lesson for us to learn, a trial for us to face, or a test for us to pass through faith in Him; no one knows how God thinks or operates. All we know is that He has our best interest in mind, He does everything for a reason, and He has His own timetable.
So from here on out, when we come before God in prayer with a request, we should also ask for patience. Patience is a virtue and we should most definitely have it when coming before God; think of how often He's been patient with us all throughout our lives. If God shows us continued love and kindness even when we're unfaithful for a time, how much more so should we as His creation!
Just remember, God had mercy on us when He could have simply allowed us to perish; be grateful for all He's already blessed us with.
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Now try reading my last article, called, Who is Jesus Christ?
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