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Instant Reply-November 30, 2020

So you've prayed and didn't get the instant reply you were waiting for. What next?

Monday Morning Devotion-November 30, 2020


Instant Reply

I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.   Psalm 40:

Reprint from November 4, 2013

            OK let's admit it.  We are just not good at waiting.  We want instant everything.  We want immediate answers, acceptable solutions and instantaneous problem solving.  We are a product of the society we function in.  Our days are fast-paced, and we don't want to have to slow down for answers. So, there I said it and I'm glad. :)

            How could I write all that so self-assuredly?  Well, because I am one of the worst offenders.  Meeting deadlines, planning ahead, achieving objectives make us antsy.  Before we barge into something, we want to know the success ratio for what we are attempting to do.

            Often, we are seeking authentication that the plan we chose to follow is the best one.  We want to make sure we are doing the right thing.  Even if we start something and early detection shows we have made a mistake we want to correct it quickly.  Then we want to be assured that we are now going in the right direction.

            Sometimes we don't really trust what we are seeing.  We want to see it again and sometimes more than once.  That's the principal that caused the "Instant Replay" to evolve in television sports.

            In 1953 CBS Sports Director Tony Verna invented a system to enable a standard videotape machine to instantly replay action in the Army-Navy football game.  It wasn't an auspicious beginning to what has now become commonplace on televised games in all sports.

            The original instant replay machine weighed 1300 pounds and played back in original speed, so the announcer had to warn the audience that what they were seeing was not live action but a replay of the previous play.

            That has come a long way.  So far in fact that the game officials, at least in football, use it to verify or overturn calls made by the referee and his game staff.

            But, in life we don't get an instant replay unless a camera just happened to be rolling.  Still we want the instant verification that sports fans get from the instant replay.

When an immediate answer, solution or verification is not forthcoming we pray for the Lord to grant us patience, but to give it to us right now.

            In an October 28, 2013 devotion in Our Daily Bread, Dennis Fisher writes: "With so many forms of communication today our impatience with hearing a reply from others is sometimes laughable.  Someone I know sent an email to his wife and then called her by cell phone because he couldn't wait for a reply."

            Fisher goes on further to say: "Sometimes we feel that God has let us down because He does not provide an immediate answer to a prayer.  Often our attitude is like that of the Psalmist who said: "Answer me speedily, O Lord; my spirit fails." (Psalm 143:7)

            As much as we may not want to admit it waiting is often a good thing.  Especially when we are awaiting answers from the Lord. Waiting can grow our faith when that prayer is eventually answered.  It confirms what we know but often fail to acknowledge.  God is in control and he has a plan for us.

            Sometimes God's plan involves much more than we are aware of.  The solution may not be a simple one.  It may involve other people.  How many times have you sent out invitations to an event that you thought was special and asked for RSVP's?  Expecting speedy turnarounds in the process, you became more perplexed as days passed by and nothing was heard.

            Other people are not necessarily on the same timetable or the same page that you are on.  Sometimes they are just plain untrustworthy.  At times these folks are the ones that the Lord wants to use to grant you success in your request.  Because He has granted people a free will they may hold up or derail the process altogether.

            The Lord knows what is going on.  He knows what the best way is to get to the place you need to be.  Sometimes the process includes using people who may learn or grow from being a part of the solution you are seeking.

            At times these folks may not get the message or because they are free to choose, they may reject the actions you are looking for.  Perhaps in the Lord's eyes they need to be exposed to this opportunity even if they don't make the desired decision.  It may lead to changes in their future.

            So yes, you might be the victim of someone else's stubbornness, laziness or well, I hate to say it but, their stupidity. Ouch!

            When you are waiting on answers there is a lot more going on in the world than just the problem that is bulldogging you.  It may seem so big in your eyes that you think it is more important than some of the other seemingly trivial things in which you see the Lord's hand.

            In a recent talk I gave I used a scripture from Habakkuk, the Old Testament prophet that you don't hear a lot about.  Maybe because his book is only three chapters long.  But there was a key scripture in it that I want to refer to.  It is in chapter 2 verse 3.

                        Habakkuk is questioning why God continues to allow bad people in society to inflict harm on his people.  He wants to know why his plea for justice does not seem to be heard by a loving God.

            Here's God's answer, which by the way, he instructed Habakkuk to write in big bold block letters to they would be easy for the people to read and get the message.

            "But the things I plan won't happen right away.  Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled.  If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place.  It will not be delayed."

            God wanted Habakkuk and us to know that an instant reply might not be forthcoming for whatever reason, but we could be assured he was not ignoring them.  He has heard their pleas as he hears ours, and we are to stay faithful, be patient and wait.  If it takes a while wait even more, but we are to wait with confidence.

            It's not that we shut down everything while waiting.  We still go on with our lives, but we go about our business with the confident assurance God's solution is in the works and we will be blessed by the result.

Prayer:  Lord we know that sometimes we will get an instant reply and at others we are to wait patiently.  But, above all we know you are working out the best solution, so we have great expectations that you are looking out for us and you love us.  Amen!

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