Living Word Christian Magazine

Free Bible Study Magazine

The Beauty of Delayed Answers by Edwin & Lillian Harvey


Image © Mark Winder

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Matt. 7:11).

My prayer is unto thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me (Psa. 69:13).

Prayers are commonly divided into two classes—those which are conformable to the will of God and those which are not. The Psalmist would suggest a third class belonging to neither the one nor the other. He says there may be prayers which are not conformable to the will of God today, but which will be tomorrow. There is, according to him, an acceptable time for the answering of certain prayers. He does not mean that there is an acceptable time for praying. The Heavenly Father appreciates prayer whether He can respond to it or not. The limitation is not to our petitions, but to God’s answers. We often ask things which are in accordance with God’s will, but for which we are not ready.

A young child asks his father for a knife. Now, that is a possession within the rights of a human being. It is a possession which one day will be of great use to the petitioner for the cutting of knots which cannot be untied. But today it will cut not the string but the finger. I am quite sure that the father will for the present refuse the prayer; he will lay up the desired gift in a safe treasury, awaiting the time when its possession will cease to be a danger. It has been asked at a season which is not acceptable. Even so, there are special seasons for the gifts of the Heavenly Father. Many a man asks in April a gift of Divine fruit that will only be ripe in June. Take the case of Paul. Immediately after his conversion he prayed for a mission, “Lord, what wouldst Thou have me to do?” He was answered by being sent into Paul in the solitude of Arabia. Was the gratification of his prayer denied, then? No, it was postponed. He had asked at an unacceptable time. He had desired for April the fruits of June. He was not ready for a mission. The light from Heaven had overheated him. He needed to be cooled down ere he could deal with the practical wants of men. Accordingly, God prepared for him a place in the wilderness where he could rest and ponder. The mission was coming, but it was coming with the developed years; it was hid in the bosom of the Father till the acceptable time.

My Father, help me to learn that I am heir to possessions which exceed my present holding! They exceed my present power to hold—they are waiting for my summer. Do I ever thank Thee for the blessings which Thou postponest? I am afraid not. I am like the prodigal: I want to get all at once the portion that falleth to me; and, where it is not given, I deem it is refused. Teach me, O Lord, the beauty of Thy delayed answers.—George Matheson.

In the moment of its crying
Came no answer to my heart,
But, long-deferred, it came with blessing
In a quiet place apart.
Seldom in the midst of toiling
Do we reap our recompense.
It may come when hands are folded
In a sunset hour long hence.
Not in thunderous crash of earthquake,
Not in whirlwind or in fire,
Not in voice of sounding trumpet
Does God speak our deep desire.
But with strife and fretting over—
Waiting—all serene and still,
We may hear the whispered message
Teaching us His perfect will.
When we school our hearts to patience
God reveals His better way.
Proving oft that His tomorrow
Is far better than today.
—Kathryn Blackburn Peck.

An extract from ”Kneeling We Triumph” by Edwin & Lillian Harvey BUY ON KINDLE! £3.86 Reproduced by kind permission of Harvey Publishers. Published in Living Word Magazine, Edition 37, August 2014


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This entry was posted on August 21, 2014 by in Bible Fellowship, Christian Book, Christian Interest, Living Word Magazine, prayer.
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