Yesterday I ordered a black leather crossbody purse on Amazon. This morning I got the notification: your product has shipped! So I clicked on the “track your package” button and smiled as the green bar slid across the screen. On its way!
I wish my prayers had a “track your package” feature. It would give me more confidence to pray, I think. Place my prayer in the cart, proceed through checkout, and get the email from God saying, hey Lina, the answer to your prayer has been shipped! Expect it to arrive by Saturday, 8 pm.
The other day I reached out to a friend with a request. I didn’t know when she would see the text since she was traveling, but as I set the phone down and turned my attention back to my work, I asked God, please let me get an answer really soon. Within like five minutes, she texted back. And while the answer was a disappointing “no,” I smiled and thanked God for the quick response.
I’ve been praying specifically for something since the first of March. Well, since before that, really, but my desperation with getting an answer began the first of March. And for some reason God has chosen to delay the answer to my prayer. In the meantime He’s been reminding me of who He is. Faithful. Loving. All-knowing. Able. Gentle. Comforter.
I stepped away from my desk yesterday afternoon and once again reminded God of my prayer request. But this time I said to Him, “the thing is, even if you’re not going to provide it right away, I’d at least like a heads-up. I’m a planner, you know (of course you know), and I’d like to start getting excited about it, shifting my schedule and arranging the details. I really enjoy that phase of the process.”
and then I thought of Sarah and her hubby Abraham. And how God had promised them a son, but then years went by and nothing. All those months of disappointing periods that reminded her she wasn’t pregnant yet. How difficult it must have been for her to move through those years, most likely surrounded by women with full arms and complaints of no sleep, while her own arms remained empty. And then I remembered how God appeared to Abraham on a random afternoon and said, oh, hey, by this time next year, Sarah will give birth.
Why did God give them that heads-up?
You know what I think? Two reasons. Sarah needed time to prep for her baby. She needed to start making clothes and diapers and collecting all the paraphernalia that tiny people seem to require. Oh, the joy that must have been for her to experience!
the second reason I think is because by that point she was post-menopausal. Her body had gone through all the stages until it had passed the ability to conceive. Had she and Abraham stopped even trying? God’s gentle heads-up was like telling Abraham, hey man, dust off that Marvin Gaye album; it’s time to “get it on.”
Oh the creativity of God’s plans! and oh how He must chuckle sometimes as He makes impossibilities possible!
I read something this morning. "Delayed answers to prayer are not only trials of faith, but they give us opportunities of honoring God by our steadfast confidence in Him under apparent repulses.”—C.H. Spurgeon
And Hannah Whitall Smith phrases it, “in spite of all the seemings.”
I suppose that when I open the mailbox today and it’s empty, or watch the FedEx truck drive on past without stopping, I could conclude that maybe my purse isn’t coming after all. Yeah, I have the email. Yeah, the green bar is over halfway across. But where is my package? Where is my purse? Maybe it’s not ever coming, after all.
How silly would that be?
you would tell me to hang in there, wait a bit longer, it’s almost here.
And I think God is telling me the same thing. Hang in there, Lina, your package is on its way. And before you know it, it will be out for delivery.