When I lived in Belgium, it was almost impossible to get anything done during the months of July and August. Almost every smaller business – electricians, plumbers, neighborhood grocers, etc – were closed up tighter than a drum. The Europeans prize their month long vacation and take advantage of every moment. The Belgians go to the south of France and the French go to Spain—anywhere to catch some rays. The lights are off and the sign is on the door. “GONE FISHIN’”! Actually, the sign just says “FERME – CLOSED,” but it means the same thing. “Don’t call. Don’t knock. Don’t ask. I will not answer. I am not available.”
Do you ever feel like God has “GONE FISHIN’?”
For many months I have been talking to God about a desperate need in my family. I have prayed, I have cried, I have begged, I have bargained, I have even told God how to do it, but the heavens are silent without a whisper of encouragement. Has He heard? Does He care?
I am reminded of the story of Elijah and a bunch of false prophets. Elijah was concerned because Israel had forsaken God and turned to the worship of Baal. So he challenged these prophets to a contest. Elijah would offer a sacrifice to his God, and the prophets of Baal would offer a sacrifice to their god. The god that answered by fire would be the one true god to be worshiped. The prophets of Baal went first. They prepared their sacrifice, and they prayed, man did they pray, from morning till noon, but there was no answer. Elijah mocked them saying, “Cry louder. Maybe he is meditating, or he is busy. Perhaps he is on vacation, or he is asleep, or he’s GONE FISHIN’.” Still, no matter what they did, even to the bloody cutting of themselves, there was no reply.
Now, I can understand that. The god they prayed to was no god at all. He was the figment of someone’s imagination. And those so called prophets were greatly deceived, but what about that person who really loves our God and lives to please Him. What about you and me? What about our needs? Why hasn’t my God, who can surely do anything, answered my prayer? Doesn’t He care anymore? Has He “GONE FISHIN’?”
In contrast to those false prophets, the Prophet Daniel was a man of impeccable character. Daniel’s whole life was spent in faithful service to God. God revealed to Daniel some things that were going to happen, in the future, to his people, Israel. This revelation made Daniel very sad, so he prayed.
Daniel 10:2, “In those days, I Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.
If I understand correctly, Daniel prayed without ceasing for those three weeks. He fasted and prayed earnestly even neglecting his own personal needs. Why didn’t God answer him right away?
We sometimes think God doesn’t answer us, because of something we have or have not done. That may or may not be true. However, this was not the case with Daniel. He was one of the very few in the Bible against whom not one charge was ever levied. He was a Godly man, but he had to wait for his answer.
So, why doesn’t God answer immediately?
In Luke 11:9, Jesus says, “…ask and it will be given to you…”
John 14:14: “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
Matthew 21:22: “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
That’s pretty clear. Isn’t it?
I’ve thought a lot about this, and I believe I know some of the reasons we don’t get our answers immediately.
- God wants relationship with me. Every moment I spend in God’s presence I am learning to know Him better. If, when I run into His presence crying “give me, give me, give me, He answers immediately, then I don’t have to come back until I need something else.
- What I want is not always what I need. God knows that better than I do, so He, sometimes, says “NO! That’s an answer.
- God’s timing is perfect. No matter how long we wait for the answer GOD IS NEVER TOO LATE. When Jairus asked Jesus to come heal his daughter, Jesus went with him. On the way, a servant met them with the news, “…your daughter is dead. Jesus doesn’t need to come.” Jesus answered, “Don’t be afraid; only believe,” and THE DAUGHTER WAS HEALED. God always answers on time.
- Some of God’s promises come with contingencies. Psalm 37:4: “Delight…in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” TRY SOME DELIGHTING!
- In Daniel’s case, Gabriel told him that, from the first day he prayed, God heard every word, and sent Gabriel with the answer. But Gabriel was delayed, for twenty – one days, by evil forces. (Daniel 10:12 – 13.) We have an enemy, who does not want God’s goodness for us. Consequently, he sometimes interferes delaying the answer.
Has God “GONE FISHIN’?” Not on your life!
Our Great God, who created all that now exists, is not stymied by your need. His promises are true, and HIS ANSWER IS ON THE WAY!
THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW