SOMETIMES GOD ANSWERS OUR PRAYERS BY TELLING US TO "WAIT AWHILE."
We may sometimes think God has answered "no," when actually He has only delayed the fulfillment of a positive response. Thus, we sometimes experience a delayed "yes" to our prayers.
For example, the Israelites cried out to God for deliverance from their bondage in Egypt for several generations, and many of them must have supposed that God's answer was "no." However, in actuality, His answer was "wait awhile." It is not in our province to know why their deliverance had to be delayed, but He who does all things well deemed it necessary.
When it was the right time--by God's timetable (which is the only timetable that matters)--He sent Moses to deliver them. God had not been neglecting their cries for help; He simply wanted them to wait awhile.
Another illustration of this response is seen in Revelation 6:9-11, where John saw the souls of those who had been martyred for their faithfulness to God's word. He described their prayers as follows - "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" They wanted God to avenge their deaths immediately. However, we read in verse 11 - "Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed." God did not refuse their plea, but in effect, He said that it was not yet time and that they should wait patiently.
If God does not give us what we ask for immediately, there is a reason, though in our limited perceptions we might not be able to see it. Perhaps we need to attain further maturity. Perhaps it is not the right place or circumstance. Perhaps some other events need to occur before our prayer is fulfilled (as in the case of the martyrs we just cited). Maybe God is trying to teach us to be patient. Whether or not we ever know why we are required to wait, if the aim of our prayer is worthy, we should not grow weary in uttering it to the Giver of every good gift. Let us remember that we "ought always to pray and not lose heart" (Luke 18:1; cf. I Thess. 5:17).
Friends, God answers our prayers with a prompt "yes" when it is in our best interest. He responds with an absolute "no" when it is in our best interest. And, when He intends to answer our prayers in the affirmative but not immediately, He tells us to "wait awhile."
We will conclude this study on God's responses tomorrow.