(Disclaimer: God always answers prayer in 1 of 4 ways: Directly, Differently, Delayed, or He Denies it. So when I say God hasn’t answered someone’s prayer, I mean He just hasn’t answered the way someone asked.)
Ok, since that’s out of the way…..I’m stealing an outline from my daddy. He preached this message a very long time ago. But I still remember. It is written in my Bible. I wish I had the date, but I know it was before I got married making it at least 12 years old. I love his outlines. Maybe it’s because I’m OCD and he always uses the same letters for his points. Or maybe it’s because he’s my daddy and I love him. Maybe it’s just because they have always spoken to my heart. (The 4 ways God answers prayer^^^ that was his too….)
The Reach of God’s Eye (vs. 13)
Sarai had dealt harshly with Hagar and Hagar had fled. Hagar was just doing what was asked of her. I don’t know if she even had a choice in the matter. But now she is alone and pregnant, thrown out of her home with no family. It would’ve seemed that no one cared, no one saw her. But God did. He found her in the wilderness. Her pain had still not taken her far enough away out of the reach of God’s eye.
The Readiness of God’s Ear (Chapter 21:17)
Hagar obeyed God and went back to Sarai. Only to be thrown out once again to wander in the wilderness. This time though, she had her child with her and they ran out of food. So she lays him down to die. And starts weeping. But once again God finds her because she was never out of the reach of His eye. And He tells her that He heard the voice of her child. God was ready to hear.
The Receiver of God’s Hand (21:18-20)
God provided water for them. He was with her child as he grew. God eventually made him a great nation. They received goodness from the Lord.
Has God changed?
“Behold, the Lord‘s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:” Isaiah 59:1
Just because I can’t see God doesn’t mean I am beyond the reach of His eye.
Just because He hasn’t answered my prayer yet, doesn’t mean His ear is not listening.
Just because I am not receiving an answer right now, doesn’t mean God’s hand is not moving. I have been the recipient of His blessings many times in the past and still today.
I was talking to a friend the other day about how God was answering mightily in several people’s lives. Not just small things, but GREAT things. And selfishly I said, “I just don’t understand why He can’t answer this for me.” Well, of course He can. He just for some reason has chosen not to right now. I don’t know why some people can pray for something and receive the answer right away and others go for years or maybe even their whole life without ever having that prayer answered. But I was reminded yesterday that God has not accomplished what He wants to yet. Sometimes you pray for something so long and so hard, that you’ve prayed every way you know how. It can get confusing on exactly what you should be praying for. Exactly how you should be praying. Exactly what you should ask for. When you just sit on your knees and stare into open space, not sure what to do anymore. It’s ok because God does.
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:26-28
I don’t have to know how to pray. The Holy Spirit that lives inside me can take my mess of a prayer, with my blubbering and stuttered words and turn it into something beautiful the Father can understand. And in His wisdom, He chooses how and when to answer. Because if He knows my heart well enough to know what I’m asking, even when I don’t know myself, then He definitely knows the best way to answer.
People are probably already tired of me talking about the Collingsworth Family’s new CD (or this blog for that matter, ha). But I have listened to “Redeemer of the Rain” over and over and over. It is just so good!!
Rain is not always bad. But when it turns a sunny day to darkness, it is. When it makes a mess out of everything, or when our plans get changed because of it, we tend to not appreciate it as much as when there is a drought and it is desperately needed. Rain is sometimes needed, but not always welcome. God can redeem the bad times (rain) in our life. He is the Redeemer of all things. Our souls, our lives, the rain. Redeem means to gain or regain possession of something in exchange for payment. But it also means to compensate for the faults or bad aspects of something. Well He did a p-e-r-f-e-c-t job of redeeming my soul and life, so I’m pretty sure I can trust Him to redeem my trials.
There’s one line that really stands out to me, ‘we never walk through trials in vain’. There is always, always, always a reason. God NEVER wastes our pain. He even bottles up our tears. So just trust Him today. Trust Him with the prayer He hasn’t answered yet. Trust Him with the pouring rain He might have sent you. Trust Him with whatever answer you receive.
“Redeemer of the rain, the Lord will never waste our pain. He brings beauty out of brokenness and hope to our heartache, healing out of every hurt that invades our shattered world. We never walk through trials in vain; He’s the Redeemer of the rain.”
You can listen to the whole song at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ausXQbZn5c