Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers

Character is both developed and revealed by tests……You will be tested by major changes, delayed promises, impossible problems, unanswered prayers, undeserved criticism, and even senseless tragedies. – Rick Warren: Author of The Purpose Driven Life

Scripture Text: (IS 49:8-15)
Thus says the LORD:
In a time of favor I answer you,
on the day of salvation I help you;
and I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people,
To restore the land
and allot the desolate heritages,
Saying to the prisoners: Come out!
To those in darkness: Show yourselves!
Along the ways they shall find pasture,
on every bare height shall their pastures be.
They shall not hunger or thirst,
nor shall the scorching wind or the sun strike them;
For he who pities them leads them
and guides them beside springs of water.
I will cut a road through all my mountains,
and make my highways level.
See, some shall come from afar,
others from the north and the west,
and some from the land of Syene.
Sing out, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth,
break forth into song, you mountains.
For the LORD comforts his people
and shows mercy to his afflicted.

But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me;
my Lord has forgotten me.”
Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you.

How many times has life overwhelmed us, to the point that we felt abandoned by God? It is an easy conclusion to arrive at, when everything seems dark, with no way out.

But at a "favorable time," the Lord has promised salvation for all who believe in Him. His timing is not like ours; his ways, beyond our ways. Unfortunate things happen, but we must not despair, because we only see small portions of a plan beyond our comprehension. "Things happen for a reason," as the old adage goes, and for us Christians, that reason lies in the grand design carried out by the grand engineer Himself. We believe that a loving God is at the helm, and that He puts our welfare before anything else. Therefore, hope and faith are two sides of the same coin. The call to hope is also a call to believe in God's unfailing love for us.

Isaiah deliberately uses a mother's love to illustrate the extent of God's compassion for us. Human love may be fallible, but our Father's love is firm beyond reason and beyond measure. It is in this love that we are able to say, "Father, I trust in You."

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