But they had no child,
Because Elizabeth was barren,
And they were both well advanced in years. Luke 1:7
There are circumstances in each of our lives where we have prayed and prayed for a particular outcome, and we have yet to see its fulfillment. Am I correct? Zacharias and Elizabeth knew this firsthand in their probably lifelong prayer for a much-wanted baby. However, make no mistake about it. Our Father always answers our every prayer: Yes, No,or Not Yet.
The yes-answered prayers are easy. It is the no and not yet petitions that require greater faith on our part. In such a season, incomparable comfort comes from knowing three truths: He loves me, He is for me, and He knows best. These are real rubber-meets-the-road times of trust for us.
When His answer to our requests appears to be a no, we find our rest in His omniscience and omnipresence. He has a vantage point to view our lives that we can’t even imagine. In the light of time and eternity, these seemingly unfulfilled requests will often make sense later. Think of the old song lyrics: some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.*
Not-yet prayers tell us that Lord Jesus is keeping a different timetable than ours. Delaying Lazarus’ healing caused a greater story – a greater glory – to be revealed. Sometimes, we are not ready for the thing we want, like a four-year-old wishing to drive the family car on the freeway. One request of ours might involve over a thousand people – a ripple effect. Here, God may be lining the puzzle pieces up that we can’t yet see. Some prayers require us to enter spiritual warfare, or yes, the removal of some unhealthy stuff in our lives. He may be calling us to grow in Him before He answers.
Let’s follow Zach’s and Beth’s example. Their prayer was delayed, and maybe they thought it was a no. Nonetheless, they loved and waited upon their King for His answer, trusting Him completely. Let’s do that, too.