I’m tired of waiting on God. Why won’t he answer my prayers?
A: Everyone reading this article has felt that way a time or two.
We are encouraged in the Church to stand in faith; to trust God that he has heard our prayers and intends to answer them. Seasoned Christians have learned the hard way that God’s timing is rarely aligned with ours…yet waiting on God feels the same as being ignored. I understand the frustration more than you know.
We’re in great company! Many of our favorite Bible characters and heroes of the faith wrote about the pain of waiting on God: Abraham waited twenty-five years for God to fulfill his promise of fathering a son and heir. Joseph was seventeen years old when God revealed his destiny in a dream, but he was enslaved and imprisoned until he was thirty, when the dream finally came true. David was anointed as king but did not reign on Israel’s throne for at least fifteen years. Mary, the mother of Jesus, waited thirty years for her promised son to be proclaimed the Messiah. The Hebrew people waited four hundred years for their release from slavery in Egypt. Over five-hundred years passed as God’s people waited for a word from the Lord (Malachi to John the Baptist.) What is all this waiting about? Process.
Few ministers discuss or teach a whole lot about process, yet all of life is involved in it. God is a farmer; his way of producing anything on the earth, from people to crops to governments to atmospheres, happens through a growth process. It is a series of steps each building upon the other to fulfill a completed work. We are helpless to alter God’s process because only God can see the whole game-board and all the pieces upon it. Our job is simply to persevere and trust his methods. We pray our best prayer and God goes to work. We believe this in faith. What we forget, however, is the process required to answer our prayer.
I am not suggesting that God is limited in power in any way. I’m not saying he cannot instantly or suddenly respond. He often does. But even in what appears to be swift answers to prayer, close examination finds that a process of seeds being planted, watered and grown was involved. As they joke in Nashville music circles, “An overnight success takes about ten years.”
As we enter our Lenten season, we see that our Savior endured his process as well: the road to the cross began on what we now call Ash Wednesday: “Afterward, the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the lonely wilderness in order to reveal his strength against the accuser by going through the ordeal of testing. And after fasting for forty days, Jesus was extremely weak and famished. Then the tempter came to entice him to provide food by doing a miracle. So he said to Jesus, ‘How can you possibly be the Son of God and go hungry? Just order these stones to be turned into loaves of bread.’ He answered, ‘The Scriptures say: Bread alone will not satisfy, but true life is found in every word, which constantly goes forth from God’s mouth’” (Matthew 4:1-4, TPT.)
Satan stalked our Lord; mocked him and enticed him to prove his power, over and over, multiple times. Jesus endured the testing by restraining himself as God—yet as a man, suffering through repeated attacks of the Devil. This process prepared Jesus for the three years of intense ministry that would follow. Had he not successfully withstood the siege of evil for forty days, he would not have been able to run the rest of his race to the cross. Three years later, the disciples were trained, the regions surrounding him were won to Christ and he lay down his life in completion of his task; his process of being Messiah and transforming the earth.
Stay the course, my friend. Your prayers are being answered. Believe God for his wisdom in the timing. The best is yet to come.
Do you have a question or comment for Pastor Adrienne? Send your inquiries to: email@example.com or write to P.O. Box 214, Harrison, OH 45030. For more information, please visit www.adriennewgreene.com or tune into the “Ask Pastor Adrienne” YouTube channel for sermons and insights.