When my brother-in-law was having problems with his laptop, my husband, Joe, offered to work on it for him. Joe spent a lot of time on the project, and then he packaged the computer up, and mailed it back to his brother, who lives across the country. He called his brother regularly, asking if he received the laptop, but days turned into weeks, with no sign of the machine. My brother-in-law was convinced that he would never see his laptop again, and my husband began to feel guilty about not spending the money to insure it. It seemed like everyone had given up on that package - except me. I remember praying numerous times: "Lord, I know that even now, You can lead that laptop safely back to Joe's brother, and I'm asking You to do that, because nothing is impossible with You." Exactly two months later, my husband got a call from his brother, saying that his package had been sitting in his local post office the entire time, but no one had ever notified him of its arrival!
This experience made me think of Jesus' parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18. It's a powerful passage that begins with the verse: "One day Jesus told His disciples a story to illustrate their need for constant prayer, and to show them that they must keep praying until the answer comes." (Luke 18:1 TLB) It's a lesson that calls us to persevere in prayer for those things that God puts on our heart. And Jesus ends it by issuing us a challenge: "However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find [persistence in] faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8 AMP) I could have easily talked myself out of praying for the Lord to restore that laptop, and for a while, I did. I told myself that by refusing to pay for the mailing insurance, my husband was being careless and cheap, and God wanted to teach him a lesson by its failing to reach its destination. But then I decided to give God the opportunity to do something unexpected, so I persevered in prayer. It made all the difference. How many times do we talk ourselves out of blessings and rewards by telling ourselves that we don't deserve them, or that perhaps it's not God's will for us? What would happen if we began to believe and act as though God wants to bless us even when we don't deserve it, as long as our hearts are bent toward Him? First of all, we would believe Him for greater things. And secondly, we wouldn't stop praying for His blessings until they came to pass in our lives.
One thing that we forget too easily is that God likes to work behind the scenes. Scripture even says, "Clearly, You are a God who works behind the scenes." (Isaiah 45:15 MSG) Just because we don't see any evidence with our eyes that God is working in a situation, that does NOT mean that He's not working. The prophet Isaiah said of the coming Messiah, "He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes or decide by what he hears with his ears." (Isaiah 11:3 NIV) Christ Himself instructs us to, "Stop judging by mere appearances and make a right judgment." (John 7:24 NIV) If we judge God's activities on this earth only through our five senses, we will walk in error as much as the rest of the world, and we will not operate in the supernatural, as the Lord calls us to. We have to believe that as long as we're praying and believing, God is busy working behind the scenes on our behalf.
It's been rightly said that with God, "Delays are not necessarily denials." There are many times when we ask the Lord for something, and He's not saying "no," but "wait." That means that the answer is on its way, IF we continue to stand in faith until the thing God challenged us to believe Him for comes to pass. Sometimes, we won't know for a very long time if what we're praying for is actually God's will. That's one of the reasons why we have to practice becoming more sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading. Quitting before we receive the answer that God desires for us can be a greater sin than persisting in prayer for something that is not His will. What is the Lord challenging you to believe Him for today?
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times that I failed to persevere in prayer when You wanted me to. Help me to become more attuned to Your Spirit's leading by devoting myself to prayer and Your Word. Remind me often that You are a God who works behind the scenes. Thank You that my persistence in prayer will open the door for You to do new and mighty things in my life!
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