“The very day I call for help, the tide of the battle turns.”
Psalm 56:9 TLB
We’d like for that verse to say, “The very day I call for help, the battle is over by that evening.”
Sorry… that’s not the way the Bible reads or the way God operates. Seldom are our prayers answered instantly. He can act more swiftly than we can imagine if He needs to.
Yet the Psalms are crowded with delays to very sincere prayers.
David said the waters of trouble were up to his neck, the floods engulfing him (Psalm 69). In Psalm (71) he wrote that he was in the hands of the wicked, unrighteous and cruel. You can feel the heavy pressure on David when he asked, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? (Psalm 13) And we add our complaining “Amen” to his question.
Why did God promise Abram that he would have a son – a son that would give birth to a nation, and then make him wait for 25 years to see the answer? (Genesis 12) Why did Caleb have to wait 45 years to receive the land God promised him? (Numbers 14)
There are several reasons. Sometimes, we’re not ready for what we ask for. Sometimes God’s answers are delayed to give people an opportunity to repent (as in Noah’s situation and the flood.) Often God’s delays strengthen our faith and persistence to follow Him while not getting what we want when we want it.
Never mistake a delay for denial! If God said it, He will do it.
We’d like to believe that we’re as much like God as God is. Pride tells us that we could call the shots and control all issues with timing but we’d never come close to matching God’s ability in getting the right thing to happen at precisely the right time.
David appears to be developing the theology that declares “All things work together for good to those who love the Lord.” (Romans 8:28) At the end of Psalm 12 after recounting the treachery of the wicked, he flips from complaining to strong hope when says, “Therefore, Lord, we know you will protect the oppressed, preserving them forever from this lying generation, even though the wicked strut about, and evil is praised throughout the land.” (NLT)
When God makes a promise, the check is in the mail. Be fierce in your hope, be persistent in your praises, be stubborn in your faith!