Wednesday, September 9, 2015
"*It is a truth universally acknowledged…," among believers: you can read a passage of scripture that you've read dozens of times and suddenly see something brand new - a precious nugget of truth just waiting for the right moment to be unearthed.
That very thing happened to me the other day. I want to preface this by saying prayer has, for me, been both the easiest and most difficult of disciplines. There are times God is so close I can almost feel the touch of His hands on my own. There have also been times when heaven seems like brass, ricocheting my words off into oblivion. Sometimes heaven is silent, and the deepest cry of my heart seems to have fallen on deaf ears. I wonder if God is even listening, and if He is, does it mean the answer is no. Should I stop praying for that particular thing?
I have a prayer I've been praying for over fourteen years. It's a big prayer. It requires a miracle. So far, heaven has been silent. I've thought, at times, I should just take no for an answer. But in my heart of hearts I believe I heard God whisper a promise to me all those years ago. So I continue to pray.
Back to that "universally acknowledged truth": The story in Luke 1 about Zechariah's encounter with the angel Gabriel as he served in the Temple are as familiar to me as the rest of the Christmas Story. As I read it the other day, one verse seemed to stand out in bold letters:
Luke 1:13 "But the angel said, 'Don't be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son and you are to name him John.'"
I wonder how many times the prayer for a child had flown from the hearts of Zechariah and Elizabeth to heaven's throne room. How many years did they pray with earnest longing for this one simple, miraculous thing? Now they were old, and it surely must have seemed to them that the answer was, "No." Had they stopped asking years ago - knowing that time had passed them by? How long had it been since they prayed that prayer?
Yet all the while, the Father had a plan, and when it seemed like He had turned a deaf ear, the truth was He was only waiting for the right time. What must have seemed like an eternity to Zechariah and Elizabeth was only a tick of His eternal clock.
Sometimes the answer is to our prayer is, "Wait." In the meantime, God does the necessary work deep inside of us - preparing, molding, drawing us closer to Him until the wait is over. Until just the right time.
*Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen