“C’mon! Just give him a call! He’s your friend!”
I needed a favor, a big favor, one, only my friend could grant. Frankly, I was embarrassed to leverage our friendship in this manner, but I was in a desperate situation and I knew the advice I was being given by my colleague was my best solution. I had asked favors of him before, but this one was different, much more personal, involving my family. I nodded in agreement and made the phone call. Within a few minutes, my request was warmly received. “I am so happy to be able to do this for you! I’ll tell my assistant to contact you and get the paperwork ready. Don’t worry, everything will work out!”
That was a relief! My urgent request was immediately answered by my close friend, one whom I had relied upon in the past. While I knew that I would promptly answer any request he asked of me, it was comforting that my expectations of him were met with similar alacrity.
Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act according to all the word with which the Lord your God sends you to us. Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.”
Jeremiah 42:5-6 (ESV)
Jeremiah was one of God’s great chosen prophets. If anyone had a close relationship with God, it was certainly this man! And yet, even after decades of faithfully serving God, Jeremiah’s prayers were not always immediately answered. In this preceding example, the leaders of Judah were inquiring of Jeremiah to ask God for a decision regarding their strategic planning. After agreeing, Jeremiah prayed…and prayed, and God definitely answered him.
At the end of ten days the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 42:7 (ESV)
Did God love Jeremiah? Did Jeremiah pray earnestly and honestly to God? Undoubtedly. Yet, unlike my friend who immediately answered my desperate request, God took ten days to answer Jeremiah’s prayers. My attitude toward God is often prejudiced by my expectations from my relationships with others. But God’s ways are not our ways, and praise God that He is not like us. It is easy to fall into the trap of second guessing God, thinking we know better how God should behave toward us, how He should be immediately attending to our needs. The Truth is we need to realign our expectations with God’s, rather than basing our expectations upon past experiences through other relationships. God is sovereign and is directing events on a grand cosmic scale, one that only rarely are we granted the privilege to understand, and even then, it is just for a brief glimpse. Someday, before my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, He will reveal all the reasons why some prayers and requests were immediately answered by Him while others took ten days.
This is why our objective in this life is to love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.