Your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. Daniel 10:12
About a year ago, my oldest son Rory and I were driving through a forest a few miles from home. It was winter, and there were only about 3 hours of daylight left when we entered the forest. All went well, we got some lovely photos and were on our way back out again when, driving up a steep forest road, my wheels started to spin on the gravel. I’d taken the hill in the wrong gear. Silly me. I decided to roll back slowly, to the bottom of the hill, and take another run at it in a higher gear.
That’s where everything went wrong. I happened to glance out of my side window after rolling to the bottom of the hill – the car had come to a stop right on the very edge of a very steep embankment with a stream running through it! One centimetre more and we would have been over that edge, into the stream.
The car wouldn’t go forward when I tried to drive out. We were stuck, with the very real possibility of toppling over the edge at any moment! After a few futile attempts we prayed and then I called the emergency services.
To cut a long story short, it took two of our local policemen four hours to find us. They had received the order from the dispatch centre, and were on their way, doing everything they could to find us. The police had had to leave their car outside the forest because the gates are locked after dark, and were searching for us on foot, using flashlights to find us in the pitch darkness, walking the length and breadth of the forest. They called me periodically on my mobile phone to let me know they were still looking for us. And then, finally they found us. By this time were freezing cold and had almost given up hope. One of the officers gallantly took off his own jacket to wrap around me, because I was shivering from cold and they walked us out of the forest to safety, took us home in their car and we were able to rescue our own car the next day.
I have ever been grateful to those two policemen. They went above and beyond the call of duty to find and help us.
God hears your ‘call’ straight away and ‘dispatches’ your answer. It just might not be in the way or timing you are expecting.
Have you ever called desperately on God for help, and wondered when, how or even if He is going to answer you? Perhaps you are longing and praying for the salvation of a loved one, the return of a ‘backslidden’ friend?
Old Testament prophet Daniel was awaiting a reply from God. He fasted, prayed and sought God for three weeks. It must have felt to Daniel as though he was not going to receive an answer.
Finally an angel came and I just love these words the angel gives Daniel to reassure him: “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.”
“The moment you began praying, a command was given.”
Daniel’s prayers had been heard “since the first day.”
In Chapter 9 the angel Gabriel says to Daniel “The moment you began praying, a command was given. And now I am here to tell you what it was, for you are very precious to God. Listen carefully so that you can understand the meaning of your vision.” (Daniel 9:23)
All the time that Daniel had been praying, ‘sweating it out’, the angel had been battling on behalf of those prayers. Though Daniel didn’t know it, God was at work during every one of the twenty-one days since his first prayer and the angel’s arrival.
God doesn’t always doesn’t answer our prayers when or how we want and expect Him to. Sometimes we allow that little voice of doubt and anxiety to become louder in our hearts than the voice of hope and trust. We can begin to wonder whether God has heard us. But He has!
This experience of Daniel’s reminds me that God is at work on your and my behalf, even when we can’t see it.
Lord, help me to trust Your care for me, and your faithful answer to my cry, even in the times when I can’t see it.