Timing is very important. “Take the chicken off the grill too early and you have raw chicken…. cut the prospect from the team before he’s matured and you may miss the next Stan Musial or Roger Staubach…” Anxiety and crises and curiosity can sometimes cause us to seek the status or result of a project or prayer before it’s time, before it’s ready.
Sometimes we pray for something and become impatient and discouraged because we don’t see an answer. “Hey, where’s God… I just prayed and he didn’t hear me… where’s the answer…” Timing is important. God’s timing is perfect.
Often, other things need to be in place before our prayers can be answered. A good friend has been trying to sell his house for the last 2 years, “gee why isn’t God bringing a seller…we need to move.” Well, because it didn’t sell, they were able to house their kids and family from out of town for a family wedding among other things, and it just sold at the right price. God had his perfect timing for answering that prayer.
Several years ago I was talking to a young man who was lamenting that his plans to find a future spouse weren’t working out, “gee, I’ve been serving the Lord on mission the last couple of years, I have a good job, I’m ready… hmmmmm”. I happened to mention, “maybe the girl that God wants you to marry isn’t ready…. interesting thought. Not too long after that, he met a young woman, they got engaged, married, and now have 6 children. (by the way, he’s now my son-in-law).
Sometimes I find myself in a jam and ask God to help me. It can be something “simple” like the car is acting up or I can’t find my phone or my wife has misplaced her purse; I say a prayer and quickly look for the angels from heaven appearing…”hey, where are they… gee, where’s God”.
Well, I’ve been working on a new approach…. “ I count to 10 (minutes, not seconds), and see if God is present in the situation. Sometimes I don’t sense God’s presence in 2 minutes or 5 minutes or 8 minutes, but often in 10 minutes or so, I sense that God is hearing and answering my prayer. Often, I find the “peace” of Christ returning… “And the peace that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”. 4:6) I know that the Lord is at hand and all will be well. In truth, that’s the most important answer to any prayer… “God is with me in my problem and will help me”. Oh often after that the specific situation gets resolved…” aha, I left my phone in the car”.
Now certainly some issues take more than 10 minutes for final resolution. We read about St. Monica today who prayed for her son Augustine for over 15 years with earnest “tears, prayers, and laments”. Yet, I’m thinking that she gained her peace and confidence along the way.
So, let’s look for “signs” when we pray… especially look to see if our peace has returned. Am I peaceful? The final resolution may take more time so that it fits with God’s perfect timing. But let’s pray for peace … within the “10 minute window” and then allow the Lord to answer our prayer in his perfect time… it may take more than 10 minutes, but hopefully less than 15 years.
“Rats, where did I put that “Twinkie” I was saving to eat…. I hope Judy didn’t eat it……. Lord, the clock is ticking….”