My answer was, “Yes, in ten minutes.”
His response started out as mild whining and then escalated into a full temper tantrum because he had to wait ten whole minutes. These ten minutes may have felt like a very long time for a child, but not the parent.
Just as we ask for our prayers to be answered God may indeed be saying, “Yes, but there is unfinished business that needs to be taken care of first.” However, we assume that since our prayer is not answered right away, God has answered, “No” or maybe He did not even hear our prayer.
I remember when I had listed my home to sell. I wanted to sell it the very first day and even expected the very first people to view the house to make an offer. You can imagine my disappointment when the first showing did not yield the desired results. Neither did the second, nor the third, fourth or fifth showings. I was distraught. I thought God was ignoring me. Maybe I had done something wrong and He was punishing me. Maybe He didn’t even hear my prayers. Maybe we weren’t supposed to be moving. All kinds of thoughts ran through my mind and I entertained each and every one.
What I know now, that I did not know then, was that God’s timing is very different than mine. Looking back, I know there are many good reasons that we were not ready to move when I wanted to. It is said that hindsight is 20/20, but God knows the past, the present and the future. We should not question His timing. We should accept that He knows best and accept that our prayers will be answered in His timing.
My son may not have understood why I asked him to wait ten minutes but I knew that I had to finish peeling potatoes for his dinner that evening, and if I did not do it then it may not have been done. I asked him to wait for his movie in order for him to have a nutritious dinner later. I knew the reason and that was good enough.
We should expect the same when we pray to God. Know that He knows best and He has the best timing. And many times His answer is, “Yes, but wait”. So instead of becoming impatient and trying to handle things in our own strength, we should live in the knowledge that God has heard our prayer and leave it up to Him to answer in His awesome time.
Instead of being happy that he would eventually get a movie my son pouted about when he would get what he had asked for. How many times do we pout about God’s timing instead of being grateful for what we do get?
Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him (Isaiah 30:18 NIV).