Waiting is hard. Waiting without knowing what the outcome will be is much harder.
I have often found myself waiting for an answer to a specific prayer. I believe God hears his children and he always answers our prayers, but he doesn’t always answer right away.
Sometimes God says “no” to requests that can harm us or that take us away from His purpose for our lives. Sometimes he says “wait” because the timing is wrong or because there’s something we need to do first. For me, the hardest thing is trying to discern if the answer I’m receiving is “wait” or just “no.” And if I do wait, does that mean I should do nothing until the answer is clear or should I keep moving forward expecting God to provide for my needs when the time is right?
When I’m in one of those difficult waiting periods and I wonder why God seems to be holding out on me, not providing the things I’m praying for so earnestly, I’m reminded of a scene from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Most of you are probably familiar with the plot of the book even if you’ve never read it. Children between the ages of 12 and 18 are chosen at random to represent their district in a “game” where they are required to kill each other or be killed by the brutal elements of the arena until only one survives.
Katniss Everdeen enters the game with an advantage due to survival skills she has learned in the harsh environment of her district. But her advantage won’t count for anything if she can’t meet her basic needs. After two days in the arena without water, Katniss is desperate to quench her thirst, but she can’t make it back to the one place she knows there is water. That’s when she remembers there’s someone outside the arena who has the power to help her—her coach, Haymitch. He could send a container of water to her in the arena. But he hasn’t.
Why hasn’t he?
Katniss goes through all the reasons her coach might withhold water from her when she needs it so badly. He hates her. He wants to punish her. He’s too drunk or distracted to notice her need. Or, is he sending her a message?
“Then I know. There’s only one good reason Haymitch could be withholding water from me. Because he knows I’ve almost found it.”
So Katniss goes on until she can walk no longer and drops to her knees in the mud. Yes, mud. Which is made by water. The water that will save Katniss’ life.
Like Katniss, I have sometimes wondered if God no longer loved me or if he was punishing me when he seemed to withhold something I thought I needed. I wondered if what the Bible said was true that “my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, NIV).
But the day has not yet come when I could not go on. I might need to take a break, to rest, to regroup, or to try another path, but there has always been some way to move forward, even if it wasn’t in the direction I thought I needed to go. God has always provided for me, even if I have to wait. Even when he says “no” to what I’m asking for. He’s still saying “yes” to me—to the things I really need.
He’s saying “yes” to you, too.
“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act” (Psalm 37:5, ESV).
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Stories are a metaphor for life. That's a deep way of saying we can learn life lessons from stories we read or watch on stage or on big or small screens. When viewed through a Christian worldview, even secular films and books can tell us something about our Christian walk. Here you will find a collection of blog posts with lessons I have learned from stories. I hope you enjoy them!