Most of the time, when we pray to God about our problems, we expect an immediate answer. Sometimes God does answer immediately. Sometimes God has already begun to send His answer, even before we make our request. Yet, there are other times when He doesn’t. There are some things that I have been praying about for years. There are some things I may need to pray about for the rest of my life. Does this mean that our prayers are useless? Why pray if God is not going to immediately answer? Consider this part of the Apostle Paul’s life.
2 Corinthians 12:3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses.
6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Sometime during his life, the Apostle Paul had an incredible experience. He was caught up into heaven. While there, he heard things that are too magnificent for mortal men to hear. This amazing experience naturally tempted Paul to become proud. Yet God did not want Paul to become proud. God wanted Paul to remain humble and therefore useful. How would God keep Paul’s feet on the ground after he had walked in heaven?
Paul says that God gave him a ‘thorn in his flesh.’ What this thorn was we do not know. Some suppose it was physical and perhaps had something to do with Paul’s eyesight. Others think that it was spiritual considering the fact that it involved Satan. Whatever it was, it humbled Paul greatly.
When this thorn first came into his life, Paul did what every believer will do. He prayed about it. No doubt he prayed intensely and maybe even fasted. Yet the Lord did not immediately remove his thorn. As a matter of fact, it seems that God never removed his thorn. Paul suffered from it for as long as he lived.
Perhaps there was a moment when Paul wondered, “Why keep praying if God is not going to answer?”But then the Lord gave him an answer that exceeded what Paul had been asking. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”God’s answer was that Paul would be stronger with the thorn than without the thorn.
If you are currently facing something difficult in your life and can’t seem to find an answer, keep trusting in God. The Bible says that God is a rewarder of those who ‘diligently seek Him.’ (Hebrews 11:6) Also keep in mind that God’s answer might be something different than you expect.
I pray this study has been a blessing to you. God bless you my brethren.