As we are learning, God’s responses to our prayers come in various forms. When God answers our request(s), He will often answer them in one of three ways. When we pray, God will often respond with a “yes”, “no”, or “wait.” As we are discovering from this journey, the challenge with prayer is not the actual act itself. The challenge comes from processing God’s answer to our requests. Knowing what to do in response to God’s answer is indeed a challenge.
In our pursuit of Jesus, we gradually learn to seek God for help in our day-to-day. As we learn to depend on God more and more we grow closer to Him. Through this seeking God to meet our needs, He will often respond to our requests by asking us to "Wait." While this answer might come in slightly different forms such as "Not now," or "Not yet," it might also come as simply as "Wait." Regardless of the way God says it, the challenge can seem insurmountable.
Through this process of learning how to process God's response to our prayers, many of us will learn perspectives that we could have never learned in any other way. We learn to ask God questions in a way we would have never known to ask. And lastly, many of us will learn that our perspective is what really needs the most work. And while none of these lessons come easy, learning each of them is critical to growing closer to God.
When God responds to me with "Wait," I often feel more discouraged than when He tells me "No." I quickly become like a little toddler hearing “No.” I might stomp my feet or shake my fists in frustration with God. When God asks me to “Wait” essentially what He is asking us to do is to trust Him. And much like hearing “No,” is hard, the hard part with receiving a “Wait” answer is having the faith to believe in God’s plan when you have no idea when it might be. You see with a “Wait” God is not saying “No” to our request, He is saying “Not yet.” This “Not yet” might be a month, or it might be a decade later.
Initially, our first response to God might be much like when a toddler is told “No,” but time teaches us to follow up God’s “Wait” with questions.
Your questions to God might be:
- What do you want to show me here?
- What am I missing?
- I trust you Lord, but I'm struggling with ____.
- Can you help me with ____?
No matter what your questions are, know that God CAN handle them. Know that God WELCOMES your questions. Really what we often seek from God with our follow-up questions is to see more of the big picture. God’s answers to our follow-up questions won’t always provide the type of clarity that we seek. What I have seen is that as we draw closer to God with our questions we often get glimpses of hope which provide the encouragement we are needing.
The much-needed perspective comes from looking back at what God has done following these scenarios. It is in seeing His faithfulness to our requests looking back that our faith begins to grow. As these experiences build on one another, our faith in God’s response to our requests develops into something truly priceless.
And just as I did in my last post, I will encourage you to follow the same process. As my faith in God grows, this process has not changed for me personally.
Lean into God.
- Ask God questions (He can handle your questions.)
- Draw close to Him.
“Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”James 4:8 NIV