Jeremiah 33:3-‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ NKJV
I heard a story many years ago. I’ll try and recount it for you because it will lead me to my point for this blog. There was a flood in a city, and rescues were underway to save those stranded. A believer prayed for God’s help to get them out of their precarious situation. A person came by in a canoe and offered to give them help, which they denied because they were waiting on God.
As the water continued to rise, they cried to God for help. Soon afterward, a person came by in a boat and offered them deliverance. Yet, they told that person they didn’t need their help. The waters continued to rise, and they were on the roof, waiting for God. A helicopter came by to rescue them and again they waved them on. Finally, as the water was covering their bodies and they had nowhere else to go, they began to scold God for not answering their prayer. But God reminded them of the canoe, the boat, and the helicopter that He had sent their way, which they had refused. You see, too many of us are angry with God for not answering our prayers when we didn’t recognize the answer when He sent it.
‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV
I might not have told the story correctly, but I think you get the point! God promised us that if we call to Him, He would answer! Some say that we may not always like the answer, but that doesn’t mean He didn’t answer.
I think of the Israelites whenever I think of people who missed it repeatedly. They were never truly satisfied with how God did things because He never did them the way they thought things should be done. For example, they cried out to God for deliverance from Egyptian bondage and God sent them Moses. At first, they were all excited about Moses, but as Pharaoh continued to say that he wouldn’t let them go, and things worsened for them, they complained about how God wanted to deliver them!
Then, as they came out from Pharaoh, they met Moses and Aaron who stood there to meet them. And they said to them, “Let the Lord look on you and judge, because you have made us abhorrent in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us.”Exodus 5:20-21 NKJV
This didn’t look like deliverance to them. This looked like a curse because things were getting worst, not better. Although they had prayed for God to remember them and to deliver them from bondage, they didn’t recognize His answer to their prayers. Time and again, they cried out to the Lord, and He heard their cry and answered them. But they had no remembrance of His faithfulness when more challenges came their way.
In chapter 15 of Exodus, the children of Israel asked for water to drink. They came to a place with bitter water and began complaining, asking what they should drink. Moses then cried out to the Lord:
So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet.Exodus 15:5 NKJV
Moses asked God about water, and God showed Moses a tree! Moses had enough sense to take the tree and throw it in the bitter waters of Marah! The water became drinkable! Did God not answer his prayer for water? Yes, He did! Just not how Moses and the children of Israel thought He would!
In Exodus 16, they complained that they had no meat or bread in the wilderness they were in. God told Moses that He had heard the complaints of the people and that He would answer them:
And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’ ”Exodus 16:11-12NKJV
So the Lord provided quail in the evenings and bread in the mornings. But they didn’t recognize it as bread and called it manna:
And the house of Israel called its name Manna. And it was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.Exodus 16:31 NKJV
In Hebrew, the word manna means, “what is it?” They asked for bread. God promised bread. But because it didn’t look like what they thought bread should look like, they didn’t recognize it. So it was called manna!
The Bible has many examples of God doing unusual things in answer to the cries of His people. For example, when Israel’s armies faced the Philistine armies and Goliath, they needed a man to fight for them. God didn’t send them a giant like Goliath; He sent them David. Not a trained warrior, but His warrior!
When the nation of Israel was under the control of the Roman Empire, they cried for a deliverer to save them. God sent them One, Jesus! Only He came as a baby, born in a manger! As He grew and began to establish His kingdom, they were looking for an earthly kingdom, but He offered a forever kingdom!
When they wanted to crown Him King, He hid from them. Until the day they placed a crown of thorns on His head and nailed Him to the cross! This was not the deliverer they were looking for, but the Deliverer they needed! He was the only one who could bring them salvation for the body and the soul, yet, they didn’t recognize Him. They wondered, “what is it?”
Sometimes, the thing we pray for will be exactly what we get. Then there are other times we will pray and have to look for God’s answer in the things or events around us. If we are not careful, we will be foolish enough to think that He hasn’t answered our prayers! But if we are wise, we will see Him working in every situation to answer our prayers.
I shared this before, but it bears repeating. When we had our first baby, I was given a blood transfusion. Because of the blood transfusion, I was denied insurance when we left the military. When we had our second child, we had to pay for medical expenses before I had the baby. We prayed for a regular delivery with a healthy baby and no problems because we paid out of pocket. Lo and behold, I had a C-section. Not only that, our baby was put in PICU. I laugh now because of the goodness of God. But after she was born, my husband said he was in prayer and said to the Lord that he didn’t get anything he had asked for. Not a normal birth, not a healthy baby, and more finances than we could hope to pay! But God is as faithful today as He was then, and He stepped in and gave us one miracle after another.
I recovered from the C-section with no issues. Our baby was miraculously healed with no lingering effects, all hospital bills were paid, and our money was returned! We didn’t get what we asked for; we got more than we could have imagined! Could I have lived a lifetime without watching my baby suffer? Most definitely! But the testimony of His faithfulness is what I remember more than those months of uncertainty!
As I conclude this series on prayer, I just want to remind you of the faithfulness of God to us and to His word. He said that if we call to Him, He will answer us and show us great and mighty things that we don’t know! However, if we think it will always be the way we asked for it, we will miss His heavenly answers! When the floods of life come and we cry out to Him, He will answer us! Look for Him in the canoe, the boat, the helicopter, or the manna! Whatever we do, don’t miss Him, because He answers when we call! Wonderful Jesus!