Psalm 17:3 – Though you probe my heart and examine me at night, though you test me, you will find nothing; I have resolved that my mouth will not sin. (NIV)
I have before me a card that I received before Christmas. I held it back so that I might take the time to write a letter to send along with my return card. Well, although my intentions were good, the card sits neglected upon my desk with no response.
Many people who have prayed in helpless or hopeless situations believe that God likewise neglects us and doesn't respond to our cries for help. They never feel that they get an answer to their prayers. Is God full of good intentions that He never gets around to keeping?
As we transitioned to this new year, I thought about how some are feeling let down, thinking of the old year like a chapter in a book that they would love to leave out, or a door that they would like to close and then turn the key.
Some bear burdens that seem overwhelming; some have lost loved ones; some have diseases for which there is no cure, or health problems that linger on. Or it could be a loss of their job and livelihood. They can't seem to find their way to get back on track. God has not answered their prayers, so they blame God.
In many of these cases, perhaps the answer is something that God is holding back for a good reason, something like the letter that I held back in order to have time to think more deeply about it and how to approach the words sent to me.
Often in such circumstances it is difficult to believe, but the Bible affirms that God is a God of love, "and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him." (Romans 8:28a NIV) And we have the example of Job, who said, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." (Job 13:15a NKJV) It's not God who neglects us or turns away when we cry out for help — many times it is we who have turned away and who need to know in our hearts that God's grace is sufficient for all.
- Yes, I can see a light that is coming
For the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You.
- Matt and Beth Redman
Prayer: Most gracious heavenly Father, we come to You at the start of yet another new year, praying for a turning point in our lives, that we may know that You will never neglect Your children. We pray in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen.