DELAYED, NOT DENIED
Some people, sometimes including me, feel impatient or even doubtful about whether or not Jesus has heard our prayers and, even more important to us, if He is going to answer them or not. We might even think “why would He even bother to answer my prayers? He has so many to answer, mine probably will get lost in the shuffle.” When we think this way, we are limiting God. He is infinite in how many prayers and questions He can answer. Unlike humans, He does not only answer one prayer here or another there, and ignore the rest because he has a limited supply of time or energy to do so. No, He just sometimes has us wait. Often, His answers are not denied, just delayed, in our way of thinking. We get impatient, even I, who have more patience than some, will feel impatient, like, didn’t You hear me? Why haven’t You answered? Have You answered in some other way and just not told me? I will ask. (remember, I believe in asking Jesus; I ask Him often about one thing or another; not just my stuff, but for others, too.) I’m not disciplined enough to do my prayer work at a certain place or time, but my prayers get in. Better fitting them in somewhere than not at all.
I prayed a lot over this past week. Prayers seemed not to be answered, plus, obstacle after obstacle tried to stop me from attending the TobyMac concert in Portland last night. My funds were lower than I had planned (doesn’t that happen often?), my iPhone and all of my cards had been stolen and were not returned. All I had was the fact that I had to go back to the DMV to get a temporary of a temporary ID. Although they were quick (what? DMV quick?) they had me get another total replacement. I didn’t have the funds so I borrowed from three different people. Our director here was angry with me about that. He is young, brash and totally impatient with me for all the snags I seem to get into and it isn’t even his life! What about my going through them? I have more patience than he does. I realize most things are not life and death and he doesn’t get that one yet. And he’s a pastor. Well, I’ve given him occasion after occasion to be kind, patient, and helpful, and he keeps blowing those opportunities.
So, Jesus, where is my iPhone? Where are my cards, like, all of them? What about that ID I paid for a couple weeks ago. Oh yeah, when the mail came Friday, just after I got home from the DMV, you guessed it, the card was there! So it felt to me like all of that rigamerole I went through was totally unnecessary.
Then there was the diarrhea. Then only $15 in my billfold. Then Ticket Master couldn’t find my TobyMac ticket order because I absolutely *had* to know the last four digits of the card I used. I’ve had so many temporary cards lately that I could not remember all of the four-digit sequences on them. I guesses several, but none were correct. Soooo, as badly as I wanted to go, I purchased a second ticket, still not knowing if I would really be able to go to Portland.
The hotels were quite booked. I chose Marriott because they have a restaurant and they had availability but I feared I really did not have the funds to pay for that room.
So I prepared to get on the train and the lift wouldn’t lift. Was this the continuation of my not being able to go that Jesus was trying to tell me, or just another stumbling block? I really did not know, as they pumped the lift up by hand and I tried not to get fear of heights. I asked if the thing could crash but they didn’t think so.
At the Marriott, I was told, rudely and loudly, in front of many people, that my stay was being denied. My temporary card did not have my name on it and there was no funding on it. When I explained that I had cash, he acted totally insulted, like cash was disgusting to him. We tried several hotels with no good results since many have these same rules. I hoped that given my circumstances of the stealing, that he would make an exception. No. My prayers were many but not answered, that I could tell.
I didn’t have a cell phone because my new sim card hadn’t come yet, for the IPhone SE I still have. I had so hoped and prayed that it would. So I got a track phone to tide me over. Good thing; I needed it quite a bit. All those years I didn’t have a cell phone and didn’t miss it; how we are changed by our culture. That was an expense I hadn’t planned. I was quite anxious about whether I would really have enough money to get home, and, if not, what would I do? I prayed about this probably more than anything.
Then I asked about Denny’s and there was one that was open all night. I took a cab to the concert and the guy, who had English as not his first language, dropped me off in the boonies of the four-door arena. An older gentleman, a retired minister, saw my plight and wheeled me in to the box office. Security wheeled me to the accessible seating and a lady next to me helped me get snacks. So after the absolutely great concert, I headed to Dennys and spent the night there. It turns out I couldn’t have afforded Marriott, and Jesus knew it. So He did answer my prayer to attend the concert and a way to wait for my ride back home. I chose to come home early, on a bus rather than the train, it this was actually cheaper and got me home in good time for a really good dinner here And the chance to sleep this afternoon. He also saved me in the nick of time from having my fingers smashed in the door as the driver slammed it as my fingers brushed the opening and I pulled away faster than I knew I could.
So many of my prayers over that entire trip seemed not to be answered, yet, in the long run, they were. I came home with thirty-some dollars, had a decent cab driver from a company I knew nothing about, and he was actually helpful!
Jesus knows I have trust issues. I think these things happen to give me ample opportunities to trust Him. I still have difficulty, and diarrhea, over that. I prayed and prayed not to be anxious about whether everything would work out or not. Now I feel blessed that I was able to see TobyMac again and have quite an interesting and successful adventure.
Miguel tended to the kitties. They were asleep on my bed when I got home. That was another answered prayer.
Ken suggested the Y for next time. I plan to attend another concert in March. We’ll see how that goes.
I share my own examples because those are the ones I know best. They are proof that Jesus does hear our prayers and He does answer them. I write about this quite often because it is an issue several people have brought up to me and one I can answer. Some questions people have for me, especially about what it says in the Bible about this or that, I am not God’s-Word-educated enough to answer them. However, I do ask those who do have answers, or look them up, so that I can get back to the person about whatever their question was. I sure don’t always have the answers–only Jesus does–in His own time and in His own way. We are not denied answers to prayer, only sometimes delayed. Let us be patient awaiting His working out of our issues, no matter what they are. He may not create happily-ever-after here on earth, but He promises that for us in Heaven, when we have been saved.