Isaiah 51:1 Listen to me, you that pursue righteousness, you that seek the Lord. Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. 2 Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, but I blessed him and made him many.
In this passage from Isaiah, God is encouraging the people of Israel who were in exile in Babylon and other places – a long way from home. God had promised to restore Israel, but years and years were passing by with no discernible change. It appeared to the people that God had forgotten them, had failed to honor the promise of restoration. And so God hearkened back to Abraham and Sarah. You will recall they were childless when God approached them late in their lives. God promised that if they would follow where God led, God would make of them an entire nation of people. Millions of descendants. From an elderly couple with no children. It didn’t all come to pass in their lifetimes, but God answered the prayers of Abraham and Sarah. Their children would become the nation of Israel over many generations.
God’s timing is not always our preferred timing.
If there’s one difficult lesson I’ve learned over the years it’s that God acts in God’s time, not mine. I’ve seen this in my own life and in the lives of many close friends and family. People wait for a sense of calling, wait for healing, wait for love to come along, wait for financial relief, wait to start a family, and much more. Many times prayers are answered but take much longer than expected. Sometimes prayers are answered in the negative. All of these are hard to bear for mere mortals like us for whom life is short.
Some of you have been praying for a very long time and are yet to discern a positive answer. My encouragement to you brothers and sisters is to persist in praying. God definitely answers prayers, sometimes fairly quickly. Other times it takes longer. But trust the Lord. Though you wait, know that God has not left you nor forsaken you. Lord let it be so. Amen.