Trust God's Plan, Even When His Timing Doesn't Make Sense


A delay isn’t a denial. Just because God hasn’t answered your prayer yet doesn’t mean he won’t.

“Every word I’ve spoken to you will come true on time—God’s time.” (Luke 1:20 The Message) 

You know about the wise men, but the Christmas story also includes three wise women: Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna. 

They came from three different stages of life. One was married, one was single, and one was widowed. And each of them made wise decisions that you can learn from today.

Their decisions are the same ones we all need to make: to trust God’s plan instead of being bitter; to believe God’s Word instead of our fears; and to focus on God’s presence instead of disappointment. 

In the next few devotionals, you’ll get to know these women and learn about the decisions they made based on faith. 

Today, meet Elizabeth. Her story reveals how God works through your disappointments and heartache, even though you may not be able to immediately see what he’s doing.

The Bible says Elizabeth and her husband, Zechariah, were righteous and godly people. But they were broken-hearted because they wanted a child and had been unable to have one. 

Elizabeth had prayed for a baby for many years -- but now she was past the age for childbearing. Her greatest and longest prayer had not been answered.

She’d done everything right, but God still didn’t give her what she wanted most. She faced the temptation of becoming resentful toward God.

But, in her wisdom, Elizabeth chose not to get angry or bitter towards God. Instead, she chose to trust him -- and to pray. 

Then, at the right time, God answered her prayer. He gave Elizabeth a son, John the Baptist, who would prepare the way for Jesus, the Messiah. 

If John had been born at any other time, he couldn’t have fulfilled his purpose to prepare the way for Jesus. He needed to be born around the same time as Jesus.

All that time, Elizabeth had been praying and wondering whether God heard her prayers, but she still chose to trust God’s plan. She believed that his timing was better than hers.

For Elizabeth, and for you, God’s delay isn’t God’s denial. A wise person knows the difference between a “no” and a “not yet.” When frustrations and delays come, a wise person will trust God instead of getting bitter. 

Like Elizabeth, you likely have had plans this year that had to be set aside. COVID-19 has closed schools and businesses. It’s altered the way we do weddings and funerals. It’s changed the way we’re celebrating Christmas this year.

But, like Elizabeth and Zechariah, you can choose to trust God even when circumstances are challenging. 

An angel visited Zechariah and said: “Don't be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son. You are to name him John” (Luke 1:13 GNT).

You may not receive a visit from an angel, but you can know that God hears your prayers too. A delayed answer to a prayer is not a denial. God promises that persistent prayers are heard.

This Christmas season choose to be wise like Elizabeth. Choose to believe that God hears your prayers and is working through your circumstances, even when you don’t see what he’s doing.

Talk It Over

-- What’s something you have requested from God for a long time? How do you deal with delays? 

-- How has God’s timing in answering your prayers been better than your own timing?

-- How might 2021 be different if you trust in God with persistent prayer? 

Premium Resource: Daily Hope Prayer Journal

This devotional © 2020 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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