Yesterday I woke up with a gospel song in mind. It goes something like this:
“Children go where I send thee,
How shall I send thee?
Well, I’m gonna send thee one by one
One for the little bitty baby
Who was born, born, born in Bethlehem”
Simeon held Jesus, the Messiah, in his arms; this little bitty baby was going to save the world! He looked at Him in awe and wonder, and he believed.
To Simeon, the news of the Messiah’s arrival must have felt like rainfall after a very long dry season. Israel had seen many prophets come and go, however, for several centuries no prophet’s voice was heard, no fresh message was received. God seemed silent and withdrawn.
Suffering under various empires which took turns in brutally subjecting Israel, people turned to God as they cried for deliverance. Finally, under the Roman Empire, God sent their deliverer when Jesus was born. Better yet, their deliverer came to deliver the whole world – including but not limited to the nation of Israel, which was clearly beyond all of their prayers, hopes and dreams.
Here is a great example of God’s unexpected ways of answering prayers!
Yet in spite of all it all, don’t we sometimes wish that God answers prayers our way? Well, if that’s what we want, we set ourselves up for some major disappointments. Here is the deal: God does not need our creative assistance for problem solving. We do not need to sit down with God doing brainstorming sessions to come up with the best solution. In the end, God will come through for us, but He will do it His way.
We need to trust in God as we reach out to Him. He will help us indeed – but it never ends there. In the process of answering our prayers He will bless the world around us; yes, our timeless and eternal God always sees the bigger picture! And since God is in the habit of exceeding all our expectations, isn’t that encouragement enough to keep on praying?