Saturday morning I got to share with some lovely ladies that God is working…even when it doesn’t seem like it. Even when our prayers appear ineffective. Our efforts in vain. Our hardships unchanged. Because HE is faithful to all generations (Ps. 100:5).
I reminded them of Elizabeth – the mother of John the Baptist. How she longed for a child and prayed God would bless her with one (Luke 1:13). How she did all things right – living by the commandments to the best of her ability. Yet still no baby. No answer to prayer. Nothing.
Yet God was working, even when it didn’t seem like it. Little did Elizabeth know she would give birth to the greatest man who ever lived (Matt. 11:11). The last of the prophets; the one to prepare the way for the LORD. Little did she know it just wasn’t time yet. It. just. wasn’t. time.
“Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” Ps 27:14 Because God is working – all things in his perfect timing. It’s not that he doesn’t care. It’s not that he doesn’t hear your prayers. It just may not be time.
I reminded them of Sarah – the wife of Abraham. How she willingly followed her husband to a foreign land on the promise God would make a nation of them. How month after month turned into year after year of Sarah waiting for God to fulfill his promise. How she lost hope, took matters into her own hands, and gave her servant Hagar to Abraham as a wife.
I asked them to consider how Sarah must have felt when Hagar returned awestruck and elated with God’s appearance to her and assurance. Yet God had never appeared to Sarah; never spoken to Sarah; never assured Sarah. O the heartbreak, the confusion, the rejection Sarah must have felt. “Why not me LORD? Why her and not me? Why do you do nothing for me.”
Have you been there. I have.
Yet God was working. Just not as Sarah expected. He was working…in her heart. Doing a work IN her before he could do a work THROUGH her. He had not forgotten Sarah. He was simply preparing Sarah. To be the mother Isaac needed. A mother able to speak of God’s faithfulness. Able to confidently say the words “Nothing is impossible for God” (Gen. 18:14). Able to give her son the godly foundation necessary to be a founding father of Israel.
So take heart weary soul. If it seems as though God is doing nothing around you, maybe it’s because he’s doing something within you. Preparing you. For the wonderful plans he has for you. “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Phil 2:13, NLT).
Thirdly, I reminded them of Rachel, the beloved wife of Jacob. Forced to share her husband with her sister. Forced to watch her sister give birth to one precious boy after another; while her arms remained empty.
To Rachel it likely seemed as though God had forgotten her or hated her or cared nothing for her. Leah’s servant bore children for Jacob; her own servant bore children for Jacob; yet she could not. Why God? Why. not. me?
Have you been there? Waiting in the shadows as others receive what you’ve been asking for?
Yet God was working; masterfully weaving his purpose and plan. Little did Rachel know the boys in that household would grow to be the twelve tribes of Israel. Little did she know it was necessary for her son to be the youngest (except for Benjamin), so his brothers would sell him. Little did she know he’d rise above them all and be placed second in command of Egypt. We know the end of the story. But she did not. All she knew was it hurt. Every day it hurt. To wait. To watch. To wonder why God cared little for her. But rest assured…
Our present circumstances do not indicate God’s presence.
Though there may be times we distance ourselves from God because of sin. He never leaves us. He never forsakes us. He’s always working – all things in HIS perfect timing and according to HIS plans and purposes. Not to mention, molding and shaping our hearts along the way.