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Pointers along the way #520

Keep on asking
- Jacob Ninan

Why is it that even though there are many promises from God many of our prayers don't get answered quickly? The answer is not simple, because it has to take many different factors into consideration. But one thing we can look at is that God has a higher purpose for our lives than our immediate satisfaction. As people going through different types of difficulties on earth we feel that the removal of our present difficulty is of the highest priority. From God's point of view, His ultimate plan for us is to deliver us from our sinful nature and transform us into the nature of His Son (Ro.8:28,29). In order to accomplish this He knows that many times we may need to go through difficulties (Ac.14:22). It is through the trials in life that we learn to make the choices that matter in eternity, and it is then that we gain much more than merely the resolution of our earthly problems (2Co.4:17). We may not feel like agreeing with this, especially when we are in the midst of trouble, but once we understand things in the right way we will also see that it is good for us that sometimes we go through difficulties (Ps.119:71).

When we ask God in the midst of trouble what is happening to us and why, the answer is not always forthcoming. But this delay gives us an opportunity to examine our lives and see if there is something we need to correct (Ps.139:23,24). Most probably we would never have done this had there not been anything troubling us! But when trouble comes and we ask searching questions we get to see things about us and God which we hadn't seen before. We begin to search God's word for more answers and we get more insight. Our attitudes change, and so does our behaviour.

Have you wondered why God asks us to keep on asking, seeking and knocking? Scholars say that that is how the original Greek text reads (Mt.7:7). If we got our answers just when we ask, we would miss many other things God wants to give us through that situation. I remember many times when I have had to wait on God about some particular issues before I could begin to see things clearly.

God also tests our heart to see our real priorities with respect to godly values versus earthly comforts, by delaying His answers. How many times people turn away from God because they didn't get an answer to their prayers, without seeking to understand Him and His ways! Many times our problem can be that we are willing to forgo eternal values and perspectives in pursuit of earthly gains. Jesus tells us to seek (actually keep on seeking) God's kingdom and His righteousness first in our lives (Mt.6:33). We may not realise it, but the fact is that God is always watching our heart to see where its treasures are (Pr.4:23;Mt.6:21). That is where His eyes are focussed, rather than on the external things (1Sa.16:7). How we tend to miss this point and focus on our immediate circumstances!

The choices we make in our heart--between God's values and earthly gain--make us what we become.


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