Friday, July 16, 2010

Delayed Blessings

Have you ever wondered if God cared about your dreams, or if He really hears your prayers?

I have to admit, I have. I know that God wouldnt put a dream in our hearts that He doesnt plan on helping us carry out, and I also know that scripture is filled with truths about how God listens to those who love Him.

But what about when we can keep trying, and trying, month after month, year after year, to meet a certain goal or see a dream become a reality, but we still never see those dreams come to fruition?

What about when we pray for something, or someone, so earnestly that we actually get tired of praying about the same things, and still, despite our perseverance to beg God to intervene, we neglect to see God answering those deep heartfelt desires?

I came across this verse recently in my Bible study:

Psalm 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. (NIV)

The NLT version states that verse this way: "For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right."

Hold on a minute now. Does that imply that God is not making my dream come true or answering my prayers for certain things, because I am not doing something right, or living right? I will be honest - I felt a little unnerved when I read that verse. I began to let my mind wander to all the ways that I have let God down in my life. Probably every day for that matter. Maybe I just wasnt a good enough Christian for God to really desire to answer my prayers.

But then I remembered the verse in Romans 3:10, that says "As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one;" So no matter how hard I try, I will never live the perfect life, and God doesnt expect me to either . Whew - what a relief!

But then I began to think about how God tells us to ask and we shall receive. So if I am asking, and asking, and asking... and asking.. why am I not receiving? I want my prayers to be more like Burger King - so I can have it my way! :) And how about now please!

So I cant help but ponder about that promise. How do we process and believe that truth, when it seems that we are not receiving what we have asked for, even when we asked in good faith and for good reason? And for a long time?

My mind kept wandering, and I was getting distracted, so I refocused my thoughts, and just continued in the daily reading. Then, I came across this verse below:

Psalm 105:19 Until the time came to fulfill his dreams,the Lord tested Joseph’s character.

After re-reading that verse, God spoke something to my heart. It was a fresh reminder of a truth that I had not forgotten, but that I sometimes overlook when I am feeling frustrated or impatient about not seeing a prayer request answered in a timely manner.

I was curious about what Psalm 105:19 really meant, so I decided to do a little research online and read some commentaries about it. I soon came to understand that this verse is not really so much about building Josephs character, as it is about waiting for Gods timing as His plan plays out in our lives.

The story of Joseph is one of my favorite bible stories. I even watched an old movie about his life one time, and always keep those visuals in my head when I read about him. It really brought his story to life in my heart.

Joseph endured so much pain and hardship and heartbreak, but in the end, dreams - that he didnt even know he desired - came true. It was his patience, faith and perseverance that allowed God to work in His life, and eventually, resulted in dreams coming true. Not because Joseph asked, but because God desired that He receive blessings that had been delayed in his life. When it was time, God came through with flying colors - imagine!

Joseph had to endure divine discipline, undeserved situations, and get some experience and wisdom under his belt, before God could fulfill dreams in Josephs life. And when Joseph was ready, those delayed blessings were granted, in abundance.

Although I may not always like it, I do trust in Gods timing and believe that He knows best. But I sometimes need to remind myself that God must not be answering a prayer the way I would like, or in my desired timing, because He sees the bigger picture. In fact, He sees the whole picture.

He knows the future, so I have to trust that He knows when I will be ready to handle that answered prayer - even if I am tired of waiting.

Just maybe, He knows if I am asking for something that is not His best for my life,or is not in His ultimate plan, so in His wisdom, He may choose not to ever give me that blessing at all.

Going forward, I will continue to pray for the things that I desire, to ask for God to pour life into my dreams, and to answer prayers that I lift up to Him - but I hope to have a new perspective about them.

I hope that when I think about my unanswered prayers, I can see them not as prayers that have gone unanswered, causing me to doubt Gods love for me or wonder if He is listening, but simply as in blessings that are being delayed, for reasons that only God knows, but because He loves me.

Whether my prayers are for dreams to come true, difficult situations to be resolved, relationships to flourish, people to be healed, or anything else that is heavy on my heart or that I desire - I want to be someone that can trust in Gods timing, rather than doubt whether or not He is listening.

He IS listening. He DOES care. And He WILL act when the time is right.

You know, I have always heard and believed that good things come to those who wait - so what better thing to wait for, with great anticipation, than delayed blessings.

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Rachel B said...

Thank you for speaking truth into my heart today, Tracie. I needed to read this. Patience is a virtue! I must remember surrendering all means even my dreams...trusting that He sees the big picture, remembering that I can trust Him! He is building my character in these everyday moments...preparing me for what is next.

Blessings to you today!!

jennifer said...

this really was exactly what I needed to read at this moment in my life. I have prayed and prayed for a certain thing, a good thing something I beleive I can honor God with even.But every step I take towards my goal I seemed to be stopped. I have tried manipulating circumstances, have gotten angry at other people and have even doubted God. Frankly I have seen some very ugly traits coming from myself. God is showing me I must change some things in my character before He can use me for anything. I am getting closer to God now. I am going through the quiet but painful process of humbling myself before God. I do have hope, God is not telling me no but not right now and definatly not with that bad attitude. I am a mother so I can understand what God is saying in this.

Colleen said...

I enjoyed reading your blog today. In fact, I started reading it last night and kept the page open to read again this morning. God is speaking words of truth through you, and it's something we need to remember.

I trust in God to lead me where He wants my path to go. TRUST and believing that in God's time, if it was meant to be, it will happen. Waiting isn't easy, and patience certainly isn't my best thing. But waiting in the Lord gives us a chance to rest, knowing our best interests are in His hands. And that's the best place to be ! : )