Growing up, I knew that prayer was only answered in three ways; yes, no or wait. I know we are all well accustomed to this and have heard it in several sermons, had friends say it to us when seeking clarity about prayer or even just reminded ourselves how God deals with prayer.
However, a recent ‘experience the power moment’ made me discover that the response to prayer is not only limited to those three mentioned above. Praise God for these eye-opening experiences in life!
Being a 20-year-old, soon to be 21, I’m in that stage of encountering new things in the adult life, discovering more about myself, trying to figure out what this decade holds and what I can do, reading books, forming new friendships, losing some friends along the way, building my relationship with God, trying to define my purpose in life and just a lot of adult matters to deal with. I know some of you can totally relate while others will probably be wondering why I’m giving this too much thought. But such is life. You will slowly figure out these things as time goes by.
So, I experienced a dilemma (based on all that adult stuff I was talking about) and as my norm is, I took it to the Lord in prayer. I prayed earnestly, fervently, without ceasing, persistently… Try to imagine all those words you can use to describe a desperate prayer in need of radical response. Amidst all these, God was silent. He has never been silent on me and I honestly did not think that He would opt to be quiet just when I needed Him most. This worsened the dilemma and I just did not know what to do. When prayer fails and that seems to be your only hope at the moment, what do you do? Some of you already have multiple suggestions on what they would actually do, but trust me, prayer is always the ultimate solution. It has been for me and I bet you can agree on that too.
The silence continued. However, I kept wondering whether God’s silence was a go-ahead for me to do what I had resorted to. See, what I did not initially say is that what actually got me to the dilemma in the first place was a decision that I had made myself and I was so convinced that it was the right thing to do. But, I did not want to do it alone. I wanted God to approve of it. I know you get me and this is just one of those ways that we pray and hope that God will smile back at our decisions, or He will at least send a sign to say, “All is well. Go ahead, my child.” Well, I got no sign and I did not see any cloud from above in the shape of a smile, crazy yeah! But I’ll keep looking, one day I might spot one.
The impression grew stronger and stronger with time and I honestly do not know how best to describe how this thought came about but this is it…
God wanted me to reason. He wanted me to exercise the power of my mind. Like He gave me a brain! To think, to process, to reason, to figure out things, to do all that happens in that powerhouse. I came across a quote in the book, Mind Character and Personality Volume 1 that I resonated with:
That was it! Just that! Like, just think it out. Reason it out. Except, don’t just reason in your own way, “Come let us reason together…” What a relief it was to know that I was not employing my own thinking. God wanted me to think through this way; what would Jesus have me do? Is what I am about to do right before His sight? Is it His will? Through all this, He reminded me of the Holy Spirit who would guide me into all truth. I was not alone. I was using my brain and my helper was right by my side.
The quote stated above goes on to say;
Therefore the mind has to be trained before God can actually let us use it. How is it then exercised?
The late Ravi Zacharias once said,
These wise decisions include studying God’s word, reading the right books, seeking godly counsel and doing all you can to understand God’s will for us. All these will undoubtedly play an important role someday.
So His silence was not entirely a no or no sign from Him but rather a charge for me to assert my liberty. Liberty given not only to me but to you also. Would you try and use it some time?
Just when I need Him, He is my all
Answering when upon Him I call;
Tenderly watching lest I should fall,
Just when I need Him most.