Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Simply Trusting"1 (Lyrics)
It has been more than a year since the start of the war in Ukraine, and I'm sure that thousands of people, if not millions, pray every day that it will soon be over. The complete devastation of infrastructure, the loss of thousands of lives, and the hardship on local people as well as the families of soldiers on both sides of the conflict are overwhelming. I have thought about and wondered why God does not answer our prayers and speak to the hearts of those who have the ability to stop this war.
I discussed this with some people, and there were different opinions. One believed that everything in life is predestined, and therefore, it was bound to happen and will stop at the appointed time. Another felt that God has given us human beings the ability to make decisions, so those who decided to start this war will also be the ones to end it. One doubted that God is actually listening to our prayers, while another believed that God has wise and loving purposes in mind that we know nothing about. But we all wonder how long this terrible situation will continue.
I'm sure that the Israelites of old, enslaved by the Egyptians, also wondered if their prayers were heard by God. They toiled from day to day, living under terrible conditions. I'm sure that they prayed every day that they would be freed and able to return to the land of their ancestors. I'm sure that they wondered every day why their prayers were not being answered, but then, the Bible tells us that God remembered them.
Exodus 2:23-25 – During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them. (NIV)
It appears that God finally remembered His agreement with their ancestors, and He saw that His people were suffering and answered their prayers.
Jesus told a parable about how we should always keep on praying and not lose heart. The widow in this parable had been mistreated, and she went to see a judge about her problem, but he would not listen to her.
Luke 18:4-5 – For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, "Even though I don't fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming." (NIV)
There are times when we, too, feel that our prayers are in vain, times when we despair about situations nearby or far away. Sometimes, we, too, may feel that God is not listening, but the Bible tells us what our attitude should be:
Romans 12:12 – Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer. (NKJV)
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we ask that You would speak to the hearts of those who have the ability to bring peace to those places where wars rage. In the meantime, encourage us to continue to pray for an end to hostility. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.