This article is Part 2 of Sister Michelle Watson’s series “Dealing With Divine Delays.”
In my last article, I wrote about how my husband, Brother Michael, and I wanted to have a baby, but it just wasn’t happening. It took us over a year to tell anyone about our problem or ask for prayer. After we did that, I thought, “OK, we’ve got tons of people praying on this … it’s going to happen! It’s got to!”
But it didn’t. Being a good church girl, I turned to scripture for answers — and, of course, solutions.
I read this passage, Matthew 7:7-11, one I’d read many times before:
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”
These words used to bring comfort and hope, but now they summoned bitter feelings. After two, three, four years of asking, seeking, and knocking, there’d been no answers, no progress, no hint of a resolution. No stinkin’ baby!
If God is supposed to answer when we ask — especially when we ask for good things like children to rear in His ways — then why this never-ending nothing? I asked for bread, and I felt like I got a stone.
It left me feeling betrayed. I asked, and God didn’t give. Was Matthew 7:7-11 a bad-faith promise? Was God not truly good as He claimed to be? Was the whole Christianity thing just a deception after all?
I had to ask myself some difficult questions:
- Do I still believe in God even though He’s not answering my prayers?
- Do I still believe in the truth of God’s word and its promises even though I’m not receiving those promises?
- Do I still believe God is good even though my life doesn’t seem particularly good?
This, my dear brothers and sisters, is where rubber met road.
I figured I had two choices: Turn away from God or turn toward God. Turning away might not mean total rejection — just moving toward other possible solutions and relying on myself and what was in my power to do. The other route meant flinging myself on God’s mercy and continuing to trust Him to come through.
I didn’t like the second option because it tied my hands. It meant waiting — maybe forever! But, I decided that I’d seen too much evidence of God’s goodness and faithfulness to take steps away from Him. So, I took a deep breath and did my best to go with option No. 2.
This meant that I dug deeper into scripture, trying to understand what God was teaching me through this experience. I maintained my fasting and prayer life. I talked with brothers and sisters who had a similar past with infertility and found support there. I said yes when I was asked to take on church duties. For me, this was what it looked like to turn toward God rather than away from Him.
Even though I asked and He didn’t give, that didn’t mean the story was over. Even though I felt betrayed and burned, I continued to place more and more eggs in that one basket.
If you’re in a similar situation where you’ve repeatedly asked God for something good and received something bad in return, then please take heart from these verses in Psalm 62:
“Truly my soul waiteth upon God.” (1)
“He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved.” (2)
“My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.” (5)
“Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.” (8)
“Power belongeth to God.” (11)
Topic for next time: Realizing I don’t actually deserve anything from God.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.