For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen. (Rom 11:36)
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the Heavens are higher than the earth so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.” (Is. 55:8-9)
Are you expecting something from God? Healing from some injury or disease, the salvation of a loved one, a new job, a mate, a restoration of a broken relationship? There are so many things we look to God for and so many promises He has made. Then why do we so often find ourselves waiting for an answer?
Let me start with the answer no one wants to hear. Sometimes the answer is no or not yet. I am not going to pretend to understand this myself, but this is one place that faith comes into play. We need to believe that God wants the best for us and in His understanding He will come through in the proper time (Jer 29:11; Phil 1:6; Rom 8:28; Ecc 3:11).
Remember, even Paul received a “No” in answer to prayer, “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Cor 12:7-9).
Some of the answers we are waiting for are the fulfillment of promises made by God. Scripture contains thousands of promises which God has made to us. We also receive promises God makes to each of us as we continue our journey with Him. Abraham stands out as a great example of holding on to a promise made by God, regardless of how long it takes before the promise comes to pass. To reflect the importance of the promise He made, God even changed his name from Abram to Abraham (Gen 17:5).
God never breaks His promises (Ps 89:34), it just may take longer than we want to see for the promise fulfilled, we just need to believe what God has promised will come to pass.
When we seek answers from God, obviously we do this with expectations that God will come through with an answer. The question here is; are we placing the expectation in the wrong place? Are we placing too much expectation on how God answers rather than on just the expectation of an answer?
As you read through the bible you will see God has a knack for not always doing things the same way twice. Moses was given two different sets of instruction on getting water from a rock when leading the nation of Israel (Ex 17:1-7; Num 20:1-10). God did not have the nation of Israel use the same battle plan for each city they took when they entered the Promised Land (Joshua 1-11).
Even Jesus followed this pattern in the miracles He performed during His ministry. In healing the blind, He touched the eyes of two blind men (Mt 9:27-30), Jesus spit on the eyes of the blind man at Bethsaida (Mk 8:22-25), the man born blind was healed when he washed the mud Jesus made with His spit on the ground and rubbed on the man’s eyes (Jn 9:1-7). And this is just one example.
Here is an example from my family:
In 1988, shortly after her 15th birthday, my sister was diagnosed with a type of seizure. Needless to say this was a little distressing to the family. Family and friends prayed for her and that she would be healed. Different treatment options were tried and in the fall of 1991 she was scheduled for brain surgery. The morning of the surgery, the surgery was cancelled due to results from a Wada test that brought up concerns on how the operation would affect her short term memory. Definitely not the answer we were looking for.
I was in living in Washington at the time and through the treatment program she was part of my sister was able to transfer her treatment to a clinic in Seattle and come live with me in the spring of 1993. The program she was in dealt with experimental medications so we didn’t have to pay for the treatment, but there were other challenges. Adverse side effects which brought about trips to the Emergency Room and the seizures never stopped. There were a few periods she went seizure free for a few weeks at a time but it got to the point she would experience a 2-3 seizures a day, two days in a row, every 5-7 days.
Early in 1997, her doctor started talking to her about the possibility of surgery. After what had happened before she was not too excited by the prospect. A few weeks later she experienced a grand mal type of seizure. This freaked us both out and prompted her to discuss the surgery option with her doctor. She went in for a Wada test, the same test that canceled the first surgery; with changes in technology the results were more defining and positive, so the surgery was scheduled.
Through a slight change in schedule the date for the surgery was moved up from September to May 27th, the Tuesday after Memorial Day in 1997. When she asked the surgeon when she would be able to go home, he told her the earliest anyone had gone home after a Tuesday surgery was Sunday night, normally it was on the following Monday. She told the surgeon that she would be out of there Saturday, he didn’t commit to anything; he just said something to the effect of. “We’ll see.” She was in the Operating Room for about 8 hours and our parents and I were able to see her for a couple minutes in Intensive Care after the surgery. She doesn’t remember this but she cracked a joke in the few minutes we talked to her, much to the amazement of the ICU nurse that was in the room. The nurse said, “That never happens.”
What happened of the next few days was nothing short of amazing. Every Day when we came in to visit she kept looking better and better, even when we would go to lunch and come back just a short time later we could see significant improvement. The doctors and the nurses were all amazed at her progress. Friday afternoon the surgeon came in with a small group of interns and he was all smiles, he could not have been happier by her progress and he told us she would be able to go home the next day.
Once she had agreed to the surgery my sister completely trusted that God was going to use the hands of this skilled surgeon to take care of the seizures and that she would have a rapid recovery. And that is exactly what happened. I discussed her recovery above and she has been seizure free since that time. So we did see an answer to all the prayers, just not the way or in the time frame initially expected.
Whenever God answers a prayer, fulfills a promise, or preforms a miracle in our lives it is going to be done in a way that brings Him glory (Is 43:6-7; 1 Cor 10:31; Rom 11:36). If we expect God to provide our answer the same way He did for another person, it robs Him of the glory to which He is due. It is good for us to look to God with expectation of an answer from Him, just make sure you are not robbing God of glory because you expect it to be answers in a specific manner.
We need to step out in faith and expect to see the wonder and majesty of the glory of God as it manifests itself in your life. That is what my sister did and the results were amazing to see.