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Have you ever felt as if no matter how much you prayed, hoped or trusted in God, He wasn't listening; or even worse - He wasn't going to get involved? It's frustrating when you pray and are doing your best to believe in God's willingness (and ability) to change your situation, but still see no changes taking place.
According to the Reuters News Service, in September 2004, David Page of Norfolk, England held onto a rusty piece of metal that he thought was a bomb for four hours. He was convinced that it was unexploded ordnance from WWII and would detonate if he let it go. He was working when he dug up the device. He immediately called the emergency operator on his mobile phone. She immediately dispatched fire, police and ambulance crews.
“The woman police operator kept saying it would be OK but he kept saying to her, ‘You’re not the one holding the bomb’." The father of five cried as he told her: “Tell my parents and the children that I love them if anything goes wrong.”
When the bomb disposal crew arrived, they told him his “bomb” was nothing more than part of the hydraulic suspension system of a Citroen car. Things are not always what they seem!
In Exodus 14, we find Pharaoh looking down on the Israelites. He had allowed them to leave because of the plagues, but now he was just plain mad! He thought he had them cornered, with their backs against the Red Sea… but things are not always what they seem!
In 1 Samuel 17, we see David facing off against Goliath. As Goliath looked down on this teenager, he mocked him. He thought he would quickly crush David… but things are not always what they seem!
In Luke 24, Satan thought he had Jesus conquered. He thought He had succeeded and God’s Messiah had failed… but things are not always what they seem!
In each of these stories, we find that people overestimated themselves and underestimated God. They weren’t smart enough to realize that God was working behind the scenes.
Perhaps you feel forgotten or overlooked. In 1 Samuel 16, David’s own father overlooked him. He thought David didn’t have the makings of a king, or seemingly of anything important, for that matter… but things are not always what they seem.
I’m sure the Israelites felt abandoned by God on the very night Jesus was born. That same night you could probably hear people singing songs of lament, hoping that God would remember His people. But things are not always what they seem. The Bible says,
“But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman…” – Galatians 4:4 (emphasis mine)
In January 2001 the small handful of teens at Rhema Bibel Gemeinde in Bonn, Germany prayed for a youth pastor. They asked God to send them someone. Since this was a new church plant, there wasn’t yet anyone to work with the youth. The teens later told me that many of them felt as if nothing happened when they prayed… but things aren’t always what they seem. One month later God told Robin & I to move to Germany to be the youth pastors at RBG Bonn.
God is not only willing, He is also well able to coordinate events and move people to bring His plan to pass. Let me encourage you not to give up on your prayers or your dreams. God is alive and well… and He is working behind the scenes. He is faithful. He can be trusted. We need to remember that just because we don’t see Him doing something doesn’t mean He is apathetic or uninvolved.
But what if it takes awhile to see the answer to your prayers or the fulfillment of your dreams? If you give up, you’ll never see them. It took Joseph 22 years to see his dreams come true (See Genesis chapters 37-46), but it was well worth it. And Abraham had to wait 25 years to see God's promise come to pass (see Genesis 12). So don’t give up… keep praying, keep serving, keep dreaming. God rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6)! And remember: Things are not always what they seem!