Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all you stars of light!
Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
And you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created.
He also established them forever and ever;
He made a decree which shall not pass away.
Time goes by. Day by day. Month by month. Year by year. Prayers are being send up. Many of them. Promises are received, through the Word or through prophecies. Yet there are times when none of those great promises seem to come to pass and where it seems that none of our prayers are ever going to be answered. There's no visible power, no signs, no miracles and not a Word from above. No healing, no deliverance, no restoration. And if there is one of those things, it's still not on the area where you would really need it most. I could say 'I've been there', but fact is that I'm still there. Therefore, I'm not only speaking to you, but also to myself.
God's silence doesn't mean 'NO!'
When this is the case, then what is going on? Has He forgotten about you? Is He too busy? Has He fallen asleep? What is going on and why isn't He doing anything? So many times, we assume that His answer must be 'NO!' and that we're wasting our time. Many times, it sure feels that way, so why even bother? However, this is not the end. I'm not talking about your or my life, I'm talking about the current condition many of us are in. It's not the end. A while back I saw a great statement, which said: "In the end, all will be good. If it's not good, it's not the end." I know, it sounds a bit cheesy and maybe even unreal. Yet God has not forgotten about us. From the moment we started praying, He has sent out His Word.
“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 than your thoughts. “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
When God sends out His Word, things always start to happen. Always. Not a Word returns void. Shall I tell you something remarkable? When you search in the Word of God, you'll find several places where the Lord is not amused or not in agreement with something. Do you know what He does at such a moment? He says: "No!". Not only is He perfectly able to speak for Himself, He's also doing it. However, when He doesn't say anything at all, it doesn't mean yes, and it doesn't mean no. Then what does it mean? Often it means that you've asked Him something you're not ready to manage yet. Maybe your knowledge is too little, maybe it's your faith. Maybe your character lacks on one or more areas or maybe you need to learn to trust. Whatever it is, God knows, and God sees. Not only does He want to give you what you've asked for, He wants you to be able to keep it as well. Maybe you've prayed for something, something very important in your life, and instead of blessing, something started to hit the fan. It may very well be that God already started to answer your prayers by allowing situations that will speed your growth. It's not the situation that needs to change, it's you God is interested in. When we allow Him to do His work of change in our lives, our situation changes because of it. It rarely works the other way around.
It doesn't have to be flawless, but it needs to be real
One of the tricks of the enemy is to make us believe that we have to try harder to please God and to keep His laws. When you start believing that, the way down has already begun. So, God allows a few situations to happen in your life. Now what? Remember, Jesus didn't come to show you how it's done, He came to show you Who's doing it. That's the key, right there. It's not about your strength or abilities. It's about giving those things up in surrender to Him. It's about coming to the place where you're fully aware that you're not in control of anything. He is. Then it's about letting it all go and allowing Him to do a new work inside of you. It really doesn't have to be flawless, but it always needs to be real. When I feel angry, I tell Him. When I don't have faith, I tell Him. When I really don't like what He's doing, I tell Him. I'm not going to utter all sorts of religious prayers and words that I think He would like to hear, in order for Him to start acting the way I want. Instead, I'm telling Him what really lives inside of me. Good or bad. Sometimes that's far from flawless, but it's always real. And realness is something God is looking for.
It's God's task to water the earth, but our task to make sure the seed is in place
One of my favorite Bible verses and life motto's can be found in Matthew 7:7, where it says: "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." That Word doesn't return void either, but it shall accomplish what pleases God, and it shall prosper in the thing for which He has sent it. Faith is not a feeling. Trust is not a feeling. Both are a decision of our will. I have decided already that I believe and trust Him, but in our current situation it is far from what I feel. How's that for being real? My wife and I live in a trailer, after our home was robbed from us, we have zero income, are not allowed to work, are being persecuted by our government for something we didn't do and yet I choose to trust and believe in the God Who allowed all of that to happen. Yep. That seems to go against every logical way of thinking. You see, the thing is that I do not wish to allow my feelings to dictate what I believe, whom I trust or what I do. But I will not deny that it is hard sometimes. Or often. Ok, it is hard most of the time.
We may have received His promises. We may have received revelations. We may have proclaimed to Word of God and the promises He gave us. Keep asking! Keep searching! Keep knocking on Heaven's door! Don't ever give up. Make the choice to trust and believe, even when it's just a decision of your will. Allow the Word of God to change the way you think. Did you know that that is the meaning of the word 'repentance'? It means 'changing the way you think'. Or more literally, it means 'before you think'. Before your own thoughts get a chance to take over. So, fill your mind with the Word of God. Not just by reading it, but by reading it and then asking God what He wants to say through it. Meditate on what you've read. Revisit those versus again. And again, if needed. Until the Word becomes alive for you. When is that? When it happens, you'll know. If you're not sure, it hasn't happened yet. The Word is the seed that is sown into your life. That's your part. It's God part to water it, so that it can grow. Sometimes He'll send the rain, at other times He will send snow. The snow doesn't immediately water the earth, but it has the potential of doing just that, when the right time arrives. When the snow is in place, you know that the seed will at one point receive that water, when the sun begins to shine, when the temperatures are rising, and the snow starts to melt. Until that moment, and when you've done your part, there's only one thing you can do: Wait. When He hasn't told you 'No!', He is preparing you for what you have asked Him and probably for much more than that. The best is yet to come.
Praise the Lord from the earth,
You great sea creatures and all the depths;
Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
Mountains and all hills;
Fruitful trees and all cedars;
Beasts and all cattle;
Creeping things and flying fowl;
Kings of the earth and all peoples;
Princes and all judges of the earth;
Both young men and maidens;
Old men and children.
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above the earth and heaven.
And He has exalted the horn of His people,
The praise of all His saints—
Of the children of Israel,
A people near to Him.
Praise the Lord!