There was once a family sailing across the Caribbean. They saved up their money for many years and then purchased their first boat. In their maiden voyage, they started to see some clouds out in the distance. As a worried parent would be, the father told his family to put on their life vests and then to prepare for the storm that was headed straight for them. Within twenty minutes the storm hit that small boat at full force. Next thing you know, bam! The boat capsized and the family was thrown in the ocean.
Luckily the family was near enough a small island that they were able to swim to. On this island, the father was very angry, but as a Christian, he turned to God in prayer. He prayed for God to send a rescue team to help his family, however, no one came for them. The only thing they received was debris from their boat. Knowing that his family may be stuck on the island for a long period of time, he began to use the pieces of boat to build an enormous shelter. At first, the man and his family were very scared, however, the shelter he built was sturdy and gave the scared family some comfort. This shelter was much larger than what they needed, however, something told him to build the shelter as large as he could build it. So he did just that.
Two more days passed and the father continued to pray for God to send help to him and his family. However, once again there was no response from God. There was no divine revelation, nor did the sea part for this stranded family. So, the family decided to walk the beach shore to find more supplies. Then as they walked they heard a loud explosion and as they turned around they saw that somehow their shelter caught fire. The man in his anger yelled at God. He said, “every time I pray and I am asking for help and shelter, you give me the opposite.” He then screamed, “what have I done to deserve this.” However, the only noise he heard was the cracking of the wood, burning.
After about fifteen minutes of the man yelling at God, a miracle happened. A helicopter started to circle the small island that was in the middle of nowhere. Then two more hours passed and a rescue ship came and saved the family. The father being so full of joy because his family was saved asked the rescue team how did they find his family and they replied, “We did not know that your family was here.” They continued to tell the father that the rescue teams were searching in another part of the ocean and that they were on their way there as well. However, they heard the man’s small explosion and they saw the large rescue fire that he made to be found.
That man got down on his knees and cried to God. He asked God to forgive his unbelief and his lack of patience. It came to him that God washed all the wreckage to the shore for him to build a large shelter, one large enough to have someone see it on fire from a distance. Everything had to happen the way it did so God could answer his prayers and bring his family to safety. He needed to trust God in the season that he was in, regardless of how he felt. He should have been walking in the spirit instead of the flesh and it sank in after they were saved.
Sometimes we are like the man of the story that I am sharing with you today. We come into a season of prosperity and growth and then life (or satan) hits us. Our beautiful boats of faith get shaken and sometimes they capsize because we do not have the strength to endure them. However, like the father of the story, God has never left your side. He is listening to all of your prayers and is trying to align you to receive your blessings. But without patience, we can end up not seeing God working for us exactly where we are at. This very topic is the purpose of my message for you all today; having the patience to wait for your prayers to be answered by God in His time. So I would like to share some Scriptures with you all today about God’s promises for us. Then, I would like to discuss three practical ways to develop the faith to wait for God’s promises over your life. So, let us begin!
It is written, “But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] Will gain new strength and renew their power; They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; They will run and not become weary, They will walk and not grow tired,” (Isaiah 40:31, AMP).
The people of God have always been rebuked for their unbelief or distrust of God when things got uncomfortable. In times of difficulties, we must remember the names of people like Abraham who had faith in the Lord and through that faith, countless generations were blessed. Abraham is one of many people God made a covenant with, no different than the promises He has made to us all as Christians. It takes a certain level of faith and spiritual maturity to hold tight to God’s promises during hardships or a season of drought. This is especially true when we are waiting on the Lord for unanswered prayers. Abraham did not see his dependents outnumber the stars but they did! God’s promises will always come to pass when they need to, not when we want them to.
We must remember that our faith should never be shaken because of our foolish fears and anxieties. To even think evil or to doubt God is a horrible thing, but to voice, this evil is another. What God has revealed to us should be sufficient to calm our minds when we are wound up by any anxiety or distrust in the fruition of God’s Word. We must always remember that the work of grace that God started in us will eventually be perfected by Him in us. He always finishes what He starts, which is to include any promises that He has revealed to mankind. He will always help those who have a humble dependence on Him. As the days pass, their strength is renewed by the Lord, and their patience on His promises will be rewarded.
So let us be on watch and guard ourselves against unbelief, pride, and self-confidence. If you into this world in your own strength instead of waiting on the Lord’s promises to pass, you will only fall flat on your face in life. However, if we run forward in life trusting in the fact that God will answer our prayers in His perfect time, we will be carried above all difficulties because of His grace. However, to do this we must hang on our promise in Christ. Any of our prayers are secondary to our salvation. So we must remember that and be patient on any unanswered prayers that we have prayed.
It is written, “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait eagerly for it with patience and composure,” (Romans 8:25, AMP).
In this Scripture, the Holy Spirit is speaking to us about the hope that is in Jesus Christ and our salvation. Sin has been the guilty cause of all suffering that has ever existed in this world. Not only that, but sin affects the glory of God because it places a wedge between Him and anyone who has any unrepentant sin in their lives.
Now, to not hold on to our hope in Jesus Christ and do not believe in what He taught us, is to have no faith at all. Jesus taught us in John 14:13-14 that “whatever you ask in My name [as My representative], this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified and celebrated in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name [as My representative], I will do it.” This means if we are walking according to God’s will and in His Spirit, He will hear us and He will answer our prayers in a manner that glorifies Jesus. So we must maintain our eyes set on Christ and our hopes in this promise to us. This is especially true for anyone out there praying and not getting a response. You must first reflect on your walk with Christ before getting angry at any unanswered prayers.
We need patience. Our way through life is a long and difficult journey. What helps us through this life is our faith in Jesus Christ and our hopes for the Lord to hear us when we speak to Him. And since we know that God is not a liar, and in His Word, He reveals to us that He listens to all of our prayers in 1 Peter 3:12, then we can find comfort in this truth. The reason why we can find comfort in that we know that God will answer our prayers in one of three ways; Yes, no, or not yet. We must trust in this fact and patiently wait for Him to answer our prayers as He sees fit.
It is written, “The Lord will fight for you while you [only need to] keep silent and remain calm,” (Exodus 14:14, AMP).
We must compose ourselves, by confidence in God, into peaceful thoughts while we are waiting on a prayer to be answered. This is especially true when we are facing hardships. Please remember that if we find ourselves in a valley that God will provide a way to get us out. This way may take more time than we want, however, He will make a way for us. So if you have been praying to get out of your circumstances, please remember that God is trying to align you like He did the father in the story that I shared with you at the beginning of this message. There is no hardship that you undergo that God cannot use to bless you abundantly down the line if we hold tight to His promises in our lives.
Now that I have shared some biblical wisdom on being patient for God to answer our prayers in His perfect way, I would like to share three lessons you can learn from the waiting process. I would also like to share how they can help you grow closer to Christ.
(1) Waiting on a promise is a hard thing to do because it requires patience and faith:
In our waiting, our faith is strengthened in the trails we call life. In our waiting, we discover that God is in control of our lives and not us. This is something important to understand, especially in this generation. When answers and requests get accomplished at the click of a button, it is important to remember that character, faith, and spiritual maturity take time to develop. It is also important to remember that they get refined and forged through the fires of our daily trials and tribulations. So if you find yourself being impatient, remember this lesson.
(2) Waiting is hard but there is always a purpose in the “wait”:
God never does anything by accident. It is all done because there is a purpose behind it. Sometimes our wait is a test of our patience and obedience in the Lord. It is like God is trying to align certain things in our life, no different than a long chain of dominoes. If we lack patience and try to jump the gun, the entire chain of dominoes will never fall. However, in understanding that each domino is a gift or blessing from God, it should help you wait and rely on His perfect timing to answer your prayers.
Now during these times of waiting, there are things you can do to strengthen your faith. This may be why God is making you wait for your prayer to be answered, to begin with! Make use of the wait. Pray, study the Scriptures, and surrender to the process. Look for God in your circumstances and try to find the purpose behind it. Consider the lessons you are learning in having to develop your endurance. He may be trying to bring you to the next level of spiritual development, but without your unanswered prayer, you won’t be ready for it.
(3) Focus on the blessings that you already have:
Above all things, try to find joy and blessing where you currently are at. Regardless of the unanswered prayers that you may have lifted to the heavens, focus on the blessings at hand. There is always something to be grateful for. If you do not have a roof over your head, do you have clothes on your back? If you lost your job, do you have people around you that love you? If your boat was wrecked and you are stranded on an island, did you lose any of your loved ones? You see, regardless of the circumstance or story, there is always something to be grateful for.
As a parent, the one thing that brings me the most joy is when I see my children happy with what they have. God is no different. Regardless of what you do not have, He has already provided for you plenty. For it is written, “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” (Matthew 6:26, NASB). We are God’s pride possession. We truly lack nothing after we have our salvation. Any inconvenience or trouble is temporary. Our treasures are in heaven and not on earth. So if we feel that we are lacking anything, just remember what you have already been provided! You have your life, eternal life, countless brothers and sisters in Christ, and a loving Father. What more can we honestly ask for?
In conclusion, I shared the story of the family’s shipwreck and the father’s lack of patience because, at one point and time in our lives, we were him. We were scared and afraid. We turned to God and lifted our hands in prayer. Then for a season or two, we heard nothing and our faith was tested. Instead of feeling comfort and peace, we felt anxiety and fear. You see, that is how the enemy works. The enemy will tell you that God is not listening, that you are not worthy, and worst of all that you are alone. However, remember that you are never truly alone. Once in Christ, you are always with Christ.
Similar to the father in my story, we have the habit of losing our patience with God instead of waiting for His perfect timing. Just remember, God may just be aligning things to bring your prayer into actions. Just because you don’t see it happening, and you find yourself building a sturdy shelter, remember that the shelter could not be for a long season of waiting but simply to help signal someone to come and help you. So please remember the three things that I have shared with you about being patient on God to answer our prayers and to the Scriptures identified. Each of them is meant to help encourage you to trust God. He has always, and will always be good to us. He values each one of us and just because you have not heard back from Him does not mean that He is not listening. Just trust and use the “wait” to grow. Maybe, just maybe, your wait can be to help someone else. Remember this and also remember that people watch us, especially when we are under hardships. How we react can eventually plant the seed to bring someone to Christ. So regardless of how long you have to wait, be graceful about it for Christ. Amen!