This is what the LORD says:
I will answer your prayers
because I have set a time
when I will help
by coming to save you.
I have chosen you
to take my promise of hope
to other nations.
You will rebuild the country
from its ruins,
then people will come
and settle there.
You will set prisoners free
from dark dungeons
to see the light of day.
On their way home,
they will find plenty to eat,
even on barren hills.
They won’t go hungry
or get thirsty;
they won’t be bothered
by the scorching sun
or hot desert winds.
I will be merciful
while leading them along
to streams of water.
I will level the mountains
and make roads.
Then my people will return
from distant lands
in the north and the west
and from the city of Syene. (Isaiah 49:8-12)

There is no doubt that God will answer our prayers. But God has his own time and way of doing it. Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians and then the Babylonians. Seventy years of captivity followed. People prayed for deliverance, just as their ancestors had prayed for deliverance from the Egyptians—for four hundred long years. Sometimes there is a gap between when a prayer is offered and when it is answered.

We pray for healing, we pray that those we love will be restored, that they will be protected, that they will not die or hurt. When our loved ones die, when they don’t come home from war, when the bank forecloses, when the job is lost, when whatever we fear most comes upon us, we may think that God has forsaken us, that he didn’t hear our prayer.

But God has a time and way of answering that is nothing like we expect. We live such short lives and see so little of the overall plan of God. There is more to eternity than the seventy years of a human lifespan. God has all the time in the world—all the time in eternity—to answer your prayer. Your loved ones will be resurrected, and you’ll walk on streets of gold. God has prepared rooms in his mansion just for you. All your dreams will come true. We just need to broaden our perspective—and widen our expectations. We expect too little of God. God’s answers are not limited to a window of merely seventy years.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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