I have discovered that whatever I am praying about, on its way to better, it may drop by worse for a visit.
That quote is from a book called “Don’t Just Stand There, Pray Something” by Ronald Dunn. I read it years ago, but I’ve never forgotten it. Probably because it seems to be so true!
Why is it that sometimes, the harder we pray, the worse things seem to get? Why is it that God can give us promises and then seem to keep moving the goal line farther away?
I’m on a Bible reading plan that’s been taking me through the first few books of the Old Testament. And I’ve read so many examples of situations that dropped by worse on their way to better.
Abraham had a promise of children – lots of them. But he had to wait 25 years before that promise was fulfilled, and deal with a lot of heartache along the way. Joseph would someday be a powerful leader in Egypt and save his family from a famine. But first, that same family sold him into slavery and he spent years in jail, unjustly accused of a crime. And God told the Israelites they’d have a promised land of milk and honey and pomegranates and other wonderful things. But before that happened they were persecuted by Pharoah and then relentlessly pursued by his army when God finally did let them leave Egypt.
Why? Couldn’t God just answer and provide quickly and painlessly and miraculously?
He could, but I found out why He doesn’t sometimes.
“I’ll use Pharoah and his army to put My glory on display. Then the Egyptians will realize that I am God”. (Exodus 14:4)
God wants His glory on display. And He does that in ways that don’t always make sense to us, because of course, God’s ways are not our ways! God doesn’t randomly allow situations to deteriorate. He isn’t looking the other way when our prayers appear to go unanswered. He’s carefully crafting ways to display His glory.
And we need to be patient enough to wait to see how He’s going to do that. We can’t despair. We can’t give up. We can’t think that the stop by “worse” is the end of the story.
God will get His glory. And I want to be a part of it when it happens. “Worse” isn’t always what it seems.
For one reason only, I’ve kept you on your feet; to make you recognize My power so that My reputation spreads in all the earth. Exodus 9:16
Everyone sees it. God’s work is the talk of the town. Be glad, good people! Fly to God! Good hearted people, make praise your habit. Psalm 64:9-10
Remember every road that God led you on these 40 years in the wilderness, pushing you to your limits, testing you so that He would know what you were made of, whether you would keep His commandments or not. Deuteronomy 8:2
(*Scripture references are from “The Message” translation – it’s the version I’m using this year for my “Through the Bible in 90 Days” reading plan)