I have been praying hard for the last couple of weeks while trying to make something happen that I needed to happen in a right-now-Lord kind of a way.
A couple of times I came at the Lord like the stubborn widow in the parable who pestered the unjust judge so much that he just threw up his hand and said “yes, yes” to her entreaty.

I kept telling myself if I prayed hard enough, God would move in my situation and blast the obstacles out of my way, especially since it was me praying.

He knows I’ve been striving to be more intentional with my praying this year and not coming to him with a lot of pesky, self-centered petitions.

“So this is the one, Lord. Answer it, please,” I prayed.

In the midst of this, I received a long-distance call last week from my original best friend, whom I had not spoken with for weeks. In a quick conversation, she said she had a dream about me being upset about something.

“God said it’s taken care of,” she told me. A sense of relief flooded me.

But as the days went on, my situation did not change; what I had expected to happen on Monday did not happen, neither did it happen on Tuesday.

(I choose not to be more specific because it involves other people, but suffice it to say, I needed my prayers answered in a hurry because other people were depending on a positive outcome to the situation for which I was praying.)

By now I was convinced that God was giving a resounding no to my prayers. The situation was still in flux and had not been resolved in the time promised, and I couldn’t bear to think of disappointing the others.

Just as I was lamenting all of this, God cracked open another door for me to walk into; I am amazed at the speed at which I was able to accomplish in 24 hours what I have not been able to do in three months.

There are still a few wrinkles to iron out, but I can certainly testify that God is faithful to his word.

“Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

Yesterday while sitting at my desk and trying to finish one of several assignments, I gave into my easily distracted mind and picked up a little gift book that a friend gave me for my birthday.

While flipping through the pages, several quotes immediately grabbed my attention.

“No problem is so big that it won’t fit in God’s hand.” – Suzanne Berry

“Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better living.” – Henry Ward Beecher

“Out of difficulties grow miracles.” – Jean de la Bruyere

Much later in the day I fixed my eyes more firmly on the title of the book, “God Always Has a Plan B.” I smiled.

Could it be that sometimes what we perceive as God saying no is actually him letting us know he has a different plan to see us out of our situation?

I had to be reminded that worrying and praying at the same time doesn’t work. Trusting and listening to God in prayer works wonders.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55: 8-9).

YvonneShinhosterLamb is president of the District of Columbia Baptist Convention. She blogs at Soul Rhythms, where this column first appeared.

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