by Emily Conrad
I received a couple of shipping confirmations this morning on orders I placed.
I used to watch tracking until packages arrived. These days, shipping tends to be fast, and we place a fair number of orders, many for little things or mundane household supplies.
So, the excitement has ebbed. Sometimes, I forget what I’ve ordered until I open a package I found on my doorstep.
If only I could order up an answer to prayer and have such easily trackable, quick, predictable results.
But would that be best?
Actually, once recently, I got what seemed to be a pretty quick and simple answer. I recorded a prayer request in a journal entry about an online interaction that had discouraged me. I ended my note with, “God, please help.”
Within an hour or two, one of my friends saw the interaction and messaged me about it. I hadn’t thought the whole thing looked that striking from the outside, and never expected someone to see it, realize how I must be feeling, and reach out.
But God answered my simple prayer.
I found myself wishing He’d answer more of my prayers that quickly and directly.
I realize there are many factors that go into God’s answers to our prayers, and in no way could I do them all justice.
But in the wake of that answered prayer, I realized that perhaps, one reason I don’t see as many prayers answered is I don’t ask for His help as often as I should.
Or perhaps, I do ask, but I treat my prayers like I treat my online orders: carelessly. I forget what I’ve asked for, so I don’t look for the answer to appreciate it when it comes.
By making that journal entry, I sought God’s help, and I had a record of doing so to help me track God’s response.
But journal or no, we won’t always get quick and definitive answers. Even when we seem to, I doubt we ever understand the full impact of our prayers. We can track packages, but not God’s hand. Not entirely.
God is infinitely greater than us and owes us no explanations. He’s already given us His Word, full of assurances of his love, faithfulness, and grace. He reveals to us what we need to know and asks us to trust Him with the rest—including prayers that appear to be unanswered or answered with a no.
In trusting God regardless of whether we can “track” what He’s doing in our lives or His answers to our prayers, we glorify Him.
Like Job. Scripture gives us a glimpse behind the scenes, but Job wasn’t offered this “tracking.” He didn’t know about the conversation in heaven, and he didn’t know how the account of his life would continue impacting believers thousands of years later.
I wonder if Daniel was surprised by the “tracking” on one of his prayers when an angel gave him a glimpse in Daniel 10:12-14.
In both the cases, far more happened beyond what met the eye. I suspect that if our prayers had tracking, the results that came up would be very complex indeed.
As impressed as we are with our online shopping sites and their ability to deliver to us any number of items we request (and pay for), they do not compare to the infinite and all-powerful God.
We have no idea the scope of what the eternal God is accomplishing for His glory.
His ways are higher than ours, His thoughts are beyond us.
He invites us to bring all our requests and cares to Him. However, unlike an online site, God’s guarantee is not to furnish all of our requests.
We aren’t given the full picture of His work on our behalf. We don’t get status updates.
We have to rely on what we do know.
God is good and He loves us. He is never late. We won’t “open” an answer to prayer and find something unintentionally missing or carelessly broken.
All things work together for the ultimate good of those who love Him.
He loves us and sent Jesus to die for us so that, through belief in Him, we would have eternal life.
That’s the best guarantee around.
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Title image photo by Leone Venter on Unsplash
Dachshund photo by Erda Estremera on Unsplash
Fragile box photo by jesse ramirez on Unsplash
Graphics designed on Canva.com
So incredibly true! Really speaks to my longing to be more intentional in my prayer life this year. Thank you, Emily
I've been thinking about how to strengthen relationships lately. Intentionality is such an important part of it, whether in human relationships or with God. How wonderful to spend a year focusing on building that kind of prayer life!
Oh how I wish He WOULD give us status updates! We're so prone to track things. Prayer is often neglected. Thankful God doesn't let us know the things our hearts aren't prepared to know until the answer arrives.
So true. We live in a microwave world where everything is ready in three minutes or less. But God tells us to rest and wait. to be still and know He is always working for our benefit. Thanks for sharing.
Oops! Just found my comment emails have been going to spam, so I didn't realize you'd both left notes, Mary and Carol! Thanks so much for reading and sharing these uplifting perspectives. So thankful we can trust our Lord with everything we don't know!