Sometimes God seems so real it almost feels as if you are looking into His face. Other times we must peer into deep darkness to "see" that Light that shines only to the eyes of faith.
Last week, the retirement community where we do 3 services a week laid off a number of their staff. Included was a dear lady named Robin, an aide who has helped us since we began our ministry at the facility. We were deeply grieved and disappointed, and have prayed for her throughout the week that the Lord would provide for her needs and lead her to a new place of employment.
He did. Today when we arrived for our Tuesday services, Robin greeted us with a big smile and hug. She had been recalled to duty, and reassigned from the nursing home segment of the facility to the assisted living unit. She will therefore be with us in services at the latter rather than the former. We are overjoyed for her, and for ourselves because Robin is such a blessing to us. More importantly, she is a gift to the residents of the community, and as I told her today, "a living, walking answer to prayer."
Certainly not all prayers are answered so quickly and obviously. Most require patience and the walk of faith whereby we must fulfill the Biblical mandate to "wait on the Lord, be of good courage and He shall strengthen thine heart" (Psalm 27:14). Indeed, the Psalmist's encouragement reveals the reason God chooses most of our requests to require a lag time, as it were, between asking and receiving. The "good courage" required leads to the strengthening of our hearts. That is, we bravely wait on the Lord in accordance with our confidence in His goodness. Thereby we grow "strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might" (Ephesians 6:10). Trusting God in the context of waiting on His answers to prayer requires conscious relationship with Him whereby we more and more know Him, and are thus more and more "changed into His image" (II Corinthians 3:18).
We need both quick and delayed answers to prayer as we walk with our Lord. The former amaze and thrill us, as did our blessed experience with Robin today, for which we give joyful thanks. The latter strengthen and mature us in our walk with the Lord Jesus Christ as His living presence encourages and enables us to wait on His perfect wisdom and timing. Either way, the faithfulness of God envelops us with the assurance that He can be trusted when His manifested glory almost blinds our eyes, or when in darkness we "endure, as seeing Him who is invisible" (Hebrews 11:27).
"Yea, the darkness hideth not from Thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to Thee."