Wednesday, March 16, 2011

God...What's taking so long?

This past week I've been thinking alot about answers to prayers, and how sometimes it feels like it takes forever for God to speak back.

The Savior said, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you," but when will it be opened up, when will it be given to me?

Shortly after the sermon on the mount, the Savior miraculously fed the 5000, and afterwards went off by himself into the Mountains to pray. The account of what happens next is found in Mark 6:46-51:

46 And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.

47 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.

48 And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.

49 But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:
50 For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.
51And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.

 Something interesting here is that he stood afar off from the ship, as the disciples were in the midst of the terrible storm. The wind was "contrary to them" and the were "toiling in rowing." They were doing their best to whether the storm they were in, and as they struggled Christ watched without yet intervening.

As it continues, "about he fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them."
The Jewish day was broken down into a twelve hours starting from about 6 a.m. and continuing to 6 p.m., whereas the night was broken down into a period of 4 three hour "watches" After the Savior departed into the mountains to pray, it was shortly after the first watch had begun. it wasn't until roughly 3 a.m. that he finally went and delivered his disciples from their storm.  

Why the wait? I'm sure the disciples were praying that the storm would be calmed, and that they wold be able to whether it, but it wasn't until tha fourth watch that they were rescued. 

I think the answer is found in a passage of modern day scripture which reads, "For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in the gift he is given, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift." 

If we know that God can only give good gifts, that if we ask him for bread he won't give us a stone, why doesn't he just immediately give them to us? it is because we have to be wiling to accept them. We have to have a place in our hearts for the gift that God knows we need. Because the disciples toiled in the wind that blew against them, they had a place for that gift.

So next time you wonder why it's taking so long to get an answer, remember: You may only be in the second or third watch, and God may be allowing you to develop a place in your heart for that answer. He wants us to rejoice in that which he gives us, so continue to pray, hope, and look for that gift so that when it comes, both you and the Lord can rejoice together.

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