Monday, January 12, 2015

Always Answered

To borrow words from an old Christmas carol, I feel like I'm "in the bleak mid-winter."  I retired from my job as a school nurse last June, but the summer and fall were so busy that I didn't miss my job.

January has brought a slower pace--a little too slow.  There are always closets and drawers to clean but those tasks don't seem appealing or meaningful.

The one thing I do cherish about these slower days is the extra time to pray.  Just being able to linger is such joy.

On Sunday I was blessed to get the news that God said "yes" to something I've been praying for for many months.  I was overjoyed.

But as I sat in the church service thinking about my answered prayer I realized that every prayer is answered.  As believers we have the promise that God hears and answers each of our prayers.

They are not always answered the way we want them to be, of course.  His answer may be "no" or "wait" day after day, but those are answers nonetheless.  Our merciful God is loving enough to give us what is best for us despite our begging.

I read a devotional by John Piper recently that highlights how much we miss when we neglect the gift of prayer, "God can do more in five seconds than we can do in five hours or months or years.  This is one reason the habit of prayer is wise.  Sometimes we do not get the five-second breakthrough because we do not ask."

Sometimes, of course, we don't get the five-second breakthrough for a variety of other reasons, but how sad to think we could miss God's display of power in a situation for failure to ask.

As I spent hours in recent days sorting through more than a decade of Operation Christmas Child memories I was reminded of so many of God's answers to prayers over those years--some were "no" and some were "wait" but there were an overwhelming number of mind-blowing, more-than-I-could-ask-or-think "YES" answers.

We prayed hard throughout 2014 for 55,700 boxes and God blessed us with 43,554.  His answer to our prayer.

Now we are praying for His goal for 2015.  I'm not sure what that goal should be but I know He is.

So we pray and we wait and we trust, for His answers always come.