We thought we were pretty "high tech" cruising down the road some 20+ years ago in our Pontiac Transport minivan (lovingly known as the dustbuster on wheels). For long family road trips, we were among the first to have a "deluxe" video tape player that plugged into the cigarette lighter.
Cell phones and video games had not yet been invented and so when my kids invariably asked, "Are we there yet?" I would put it in terms they would understand. One more "Winnie the Pooh" (30 min) and we'll stop for something to eat. Or, one more "Sandlot" (90 min) and we'll be there. This along with a Mary Poppins bag of treats and toys that came out at crucial moments is what got us through those long ventures.
As an adult who is cruising toward 60,and in the midst of lots of trials and prayers waiting to be answered, I find myself asking God..."Are we there yet?"
God has been so faithful to answer prayers in ways that I would have never imagined. Some prayers went on for over 25 years. It's beginning to dawn on me that some prayers will not be answered on this side of eternity. We are drawn into thinking that this life is all there is and prayers need to be answered during this limited time we have on earth.
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. (2 Corinthians 4:17)
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
God's promises go far beyond our short life spans. His focus is an eternal one and He calls us to get on the band wagon with this way of thinking. I took a seminary class on grasping God's word and one of the things it had us focus on, in scripture, was repetition. When God really wants to make a point, the point is often repeated several times.
Let's look at Psalm 136 that talks about God's love being eternal.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.
His faithful love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1)
The Psalm goes on to chronicle God's steadfastness throughout Biblical history. After every point the psalmist makes, the chorus is repeated.
"His faithful love endures forever." is repeated some 26 times. I think God is trying to get the point across that His love is not just for this world, but will be especially present in eternity. What hope, what joy awaits us.
A good friend of mine tragically lost her young adult daughter to a drug overdose. This is the type of tragedy that is very hard to wrap your mind around and even harder to produce answers to the question, "Why?" After all, my friend and I have spent countless hours on our knees in prayer for our adult children. We were diligent in presenting our petitions, with thanksgiving, to the Lord. So why this?
James Banks in his book, "Prayers for Prodigals" offers this advice as we are apt to pray for our child's success, happiness, peace, in this lifetime...
"God has given us our children for eternal purposes, and there is no greater blessing and inheritance we can pass on to them than our prayers for their salvation."
Even Christian parents have prodigals, but what reassurance to know that our years of "training them up in the way that they should go" is not wasted. Our training of our children is not for this world...it is for eternity.
The bible talks a lot about "forever," and "eternity," and "life everlasting." The Gospels' main theme is that man is not doomed forever for his sins, but by grace, can have life everlasting, salvation in paradise, forever.
I am convicted that I need to adjust my lens for a more eternal setting.
This life is not all there is.
So, when I am want to ask God, "How long O Lord?" It's kind of like I'm asking as a child, "Are we there yet?" As I try to patiently wait upon the Lord, I take heart that even if my prayers aren't answered on this side of the pearly gates, they will certainly receive a glorious answer in eternity.
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you and praise you that this life is not all there is. Thank you for sending your Son to die for me so that I may live forever, in eternity, with You. Help me to be patient through these momentary trials and periods of suffering because I know they are building my character for eternal purposes. Help me to look not just to the end of this lifetime, but instead, look to the blessing of eternal life where all unanswered prayers will finally be answered once and for all. Thank you for your goodness and faithfulness through all the moments of my life. You make good on Your promises and Your grace is sufficient for all that we go through. Grant me patience until I am with You forever. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
What about you? Are there some prayers of yours that have not been answered? What hope can you take from knowing that His faithful love extends into eternity where most of our life will be lived? What do you need grace for in this moment? Will you share?
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