Sometimes when we are praying for the same thing day after day – such as the salvation of a loved one – and nothing seems to change we lose “expectancy.” We may even continue to pray but we really don’t expect much, if anything, to change.
Something pricked my heart recently. I noticed the story in the Bible of the woman with the twelve-year blood issue. She had every reason to give up hope, but apparently she refused to. She wouldn’t lose her expectation that God would change her circumstances, even after twelve years of pleading and prayer and no answer.
The woman fights through the crowd certain that if she simply touches Jesus, she’ll be healed. Well, she is right. After touching his robe, immediately she is healed. Jesus then asks who touched Him. Incredulous, the disciples speak up and say, “You see the people crowding against you … and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched Me?’” (Mark 5:31).
The point being, “Everyone is touching you.”
So everyone is touching Jesus, but only one person received healing from Him.
But what’s the difference between her and the others? She had expectation. I’d even say assumption. So it’s possible to be in the presence of God and receive nothing because we expect nothing.
Theres a saying about why you shouldn’t assume. It makes something out of “u” and “me.” (Think about it – it’s easy to figure out). But God, it seems like He loves when we assume. We tend to assume the worst. Like He’s out to get us or He just doesn’t care. But He has a pattern of showing up when we assume His goodness and His strength.
Just a couple of examples:
- Nowhere in the Bible does it say, “If you touch His cloak, you will be healed.” She just assumed. She expected it.
- David told Goliath that he was going to cut his head off, and he didn’t bring a sword to the fight. That’s a pretty big assumption. (God provided a sword. Goliath’s sword.)
- The centurion stops Jesus from traveling to heal his servant. He says to just say the word and it’ll be done. He didn’t know that! He just assumed. He expected that kind of power. What was Jesus’s response? After marvelling at him and turning to the crowds, He said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel” (Luke 7:9). The servant is healed.
I think God loves it when we assume the best of His power and character. Like a child who tells every kid in class, “My dad can beat up your dad.” (I don’t know why we do that, sign our dads up for fights. But when we’re young, we do). Although I may not encourage him to say such things, if that were my son, I’d feel like a proud dad. I’d think, My son truly thinks I can do anything! Let me tell you something, God truly can do anything. So if you’re hitting the point where you feel like He doesn’t care o maybe like He can’t change the situation you are in, remember that He can take a heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh. And be confident that “the Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). This is a promise we should hold on to especially when we are praying for lost or back-slidden loved on.
Sometimes God is slower than our timing.
Sometimes He is faster than our timing.
But He is always better than our timing.
Just don’t lose hope. Don’t lose expectation. And never stop assuming that He’s a good Father who gives good gifts. He says so in His Word.