Imagine with me that you planned to do something in your life. Let’s say that you planned to follow the course of the American Dream. You were going to graduate from high school, go to college, meet the man or woman of your dreams, get married, start a career immediately after receiving your 4-year college degree, have 2.5 children, and live happily ever after, with ever increasing amounts of money and success.
But then, something went wrong. Somewhere along the way something happened. Either by some choice that may not have been the wisest or most thought out, or by something that happened to you outside of your control. Maybe a friend or parent or sibling passed away. Maybe you got into a car accident and had to go back to work instead of school to pay off the car bills, and then got stuck at work to pay off school loans and never ended up going back to school. Maybe your husband or wife got sick and had to be taken care of and couldn’t work, and so that “ever increasing amounts of money” turned into “ever decreasing amounts of money and ever increasing debt.”
I’ve only lived for 25 short years, but there is at least one thing that I have learned: life rarely goes “as expected.”
Daniel experienced this when he was praying. Have you ever prayed for something and not seen the answer when you wanted it? Maybe you’re still waiting for the answer. Maybe you’ve given up hope on that prayer. Hopefully this post will encourage you: things don’t always go as expected, but we can always expect God to be faithful to answer (though the answer may be no, or not yet, or yes).
Here is what happened with Daniel in Daniel 10:10-14:
Just then a hand touched me and lifted me, still trembling, to my hands and knees. And the man said to me, “Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up, still trembling.
Then he said, “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. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia. Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come.
Daniel had been praying for something for 3 weeks and had not yet heard an answer! Daniel was distraught, and then, 21 days after he had first prayed, an angel appears. He was freaked out, with good reason, and the angel spoke to Daniel to not be afraid. As soon as he had begun praying, the angel had been dispatched by God to carry out the prayer Daniel prayed to God. The angel had been engaged in battle with the prince of Persia and so wasn’t able to make it there quickly.
Things didn’t go as expected for Daniel, but as expected, God was faithful.
So if you find yourself discouraged, unmotivated to keep praying, not wanting to persevere in prayer, maybe impatient in your faith or waiting on God’s timing, hear this: keep believing and trusting. Keep praying. Do not stop.
When the unexpected happens in your life, expect God to be there for you to run to. He will never leave you nor forsake you (Deut. 31:6). As Jesus said in Matthew 28:20, He is always with us. We have this promise when we become children of God (John 1:12).