To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away. — Ecclesiastes 3:1, 6
Last time, I said that God may require us to let go of our cherished desire in the process of obtaining it. Or, He may allow us to briefly obtain, and then ask us to give it back to Him, as a test of whether He has our whole heart. The letting-go process requires great trust in the Lord.
God is not in the business of giving us things just so that He can cruelly snatch them away from us again. When He gives a promise, He means it, and He keeps His word. When the test is complete, He rescues, restores, or resurrects the promise He has given us. The test itself serves to build our character, strengthen our faith, and build our love relationship with the Lord even more, so it is entirely for our good.
I believe prayer is intended to bring forth answers in our earthly life. I believe in supernatural healings, and I’ve seen many. Both of those are the norm, not the exception. But some of you have experienced the loss of a loved one for whom you diligently prayed for healing. Or your spouse left, and you prayed for the marriage to be restored, but he or she married someone else. You believed and prayed diligently, and then you faithfully gave it up to the Lord, but the answer did not come. That’s been on my mind throughout writing about the obtaining and letting go season.
You may have been told you didn’t obtain a desired end because you or your loved one sinned, you did something wrong in prayer, didn’t pray enough, or didn’t have enough faith — which is a lot like what Job’s friends said to him, and in his case, they weren’t correct.
Ideally, healing comes, or the marriage is restored, or whatever else the need is gets resolved, as we pray it through. Diligent prayer, trust, and relinquishment obtain the desired deliverance within our natural world. But even the greatest men and women of faith, seasoned in prayer and in wielding the promises of Scripture, have not always seen it work out “right,” so to speak. Among those who suffered personal family tragedy in spite of prayer were intercessor E. M. Bounds and healers John G. Lake, Smith Wigglesworth, and Derek Prince.
There are things that happen for which we do not have answers — yet. Eternity will provide a better ending to the story. I don’t have a pat answer. Those who think they do usually end up adding to the wounds. But, in praying this article through, I think the Lord showed me a perspective which I hope will help bring relief to some of you who are suffering under deep disappointment.
We tend to see our breakthroughs, restorations, and resurrections as being confined to our present earthly age. There is a dividing veil in our minds between the time spent in our mortal bodies and the eternal life to come. But that veil does not exist in God’s perspective. He sees our life now, and He sees our future, immortal life. He sees our time on earth, our time in heaven, our time during the coming millennial reign of Christ on earth, our time in the future new heaven and new earth age. As we pass through these various stages, it is all one continuous timeline for Him. But because we know so very little about anything beyond our current life on earth, we don’t see it the way He does.
When we pass through into eternity, that dividing veil of the mind will no longer hinder our understanding. We will discover that our breakthroughs, restorations, and resurrections were a reality all along. We will find that all which seemed lost has been reserved and stored up, completely intact, for us. Our loved ones in the Lord are not really lost to us; they are waiting for us, alive and well, and our separation from them, although it seems so very long now, is a brief moment on our entire timeline.
In the meantime, the Lord cares deeply about every question and disappointment we suffer through. He understands that although the end is perfectly clear to Him, it is not to our earth-bound minds. And He is most compassionate toward our pain.
He’s got a resurrection awaiting — not only physical resurrection of the dead, but also resurrection of those promised things which didn’t happen here in this life. He has not really failed you. It’s all there, and you will receive it — even with accrued interest — on the other side.
Knowing Your Seasons of Prayer Intro
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The Intercessor Manual, by Lee Ann Rubsam
Your Intercession Questions Answered, by Lee Ann Rubsam