Ever feel like you’re shouting into the darkness?
You’re praying, really praying. You have faith. You’re eaten up with wanting and with waiting.
Lord, save my family.
Lord, heal my friend.
Give me victory over this struggle.
Stop my loved one drinking.
Lift my depression.
Take me out of this situation.
For weeks and months and years. Please Lord, help. Please Lord, hear.
You pray and you pray and you pray. But the situation doesn’t change. The sickness doesn’t heal. And the sadness remains.
Lord. LORD! Lord?
You go to church. You read and hear about a God of miracles. Leading his people through the desert. Delivering them from slavery. Parting the seas before them.
Why won’t you do the same for me?
You’re tired of pouring out your heart. So why bother? Why keep going?
Think back to the Israelites. What an incredible rescue; and what an incredible God. But it didn’t happen overnight. Some of them saw deliverance in their lifetime; and some did not.
Some prayed that God would save their babies, but watched as Pharaoh slaughtered them still.
Some prayed for a leader; then watched as he murdered a man and fled to herd sheep.
Some prayed to be led out of Egypt; and watched as their tyranny increased.
Some prayed for a Promised Land, but saw only desert.
But they kept praying. And here’s what the Bible tells us:
the children of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the children of Israel, and God was concerned about them, (Exodus 2: 23b-25).
How does God answer their prayers? By beaming them up and out of trouble? No. By coming down and joining them in the furnace.
In a desert, on a mountain called ‘dry’ (Horeb), out of a flame of fire, He speaks:
The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them.” (Exodus 3:7-8)
This God is the same God today. He hears our prayers, just as He heard the prayers of Israelites. And He answers in the same way. Not by beaming us up and out of trouble. But by joining us in the furnace.
So, whatever we are facing, however long we’ve been praying, don’t give up. God hears. God remembers. God sees. God is concerned. God comes down to join us; and God will lead us out.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior (Isaiah 43:2-3).