Chapter 4 Exercises

God Revealed . . . According to His Timing

Chapter 4 retold situations in which I experienced God’s perfect timing — timing that often didn’t meet my desires or match my expectations. I hope that the brief exercises below will allow you to resurface examples in your past of times when God provided instantly what you urgently needed as well as examples of when God delayed His answers. There may even be examples of prayers that you feel went unheard and unanswered. I think we can learn from thoughtfully revisiting those situations and attempting, in hindsight, to understand why God knew, and acted upon, what was best for us.

Divine Intervention

God was there instantly for me as I responded to arguments and objections raised by Congressman Sam Johnson. Can you think of examples in your life in which God was there for you precisely at the moment when you needed Him most; when the timing was exquisite?

– Describe the situation. Were you praying for God’s guidance or did it come unexpectedly?
– At that instant, were you aware of God’s intervention? How did you respond emotionally?
– Did your experience reveal more to you about the nature of God? If so, in what way?

Answers Deferred

Despite our persistent prayers, the birth of our two biological sons, Zac and Corey, didn’t occur until we had been married for more than sixteen years. The wisdom and blessing of that timing only became clear to us after the joys of adopting our three daughters, Heidi, Dena, and Denise. Think back on your life and try to identify some of your prayers that went unanswered for a long time but eventually were answered in God’s timing.

– Describe the situation and how long you prayed and waited.
– Did you feel that God had ignored you? Did this challenge your faith? If so, how?
– How do you believe God ultimately answered those prayers?
– Does your experience support the claim that God answers in His perfect timing?

Unanswered Prayer?

Undoubtedly, there have been times when all of us felt God ignored or abandoned us. Perhaps we had an urgent need and prayed for God’s intervention to no avail. Did God really hear our prayers and, if so, did He ignore them? Within the limitations of our mortal minds, we don’t always find plausible answers to these difficult questions. Do you have examples of prayers that seemingly went unheard and were never answered?

– Provide an example of a situation in which you appealed to God in fervent prayer but never (or at least have not yet) received an answer?
– Do you still pray and hope for an answer to those prayers?
– In hindsight, can you now think of reasons why God’s answer may have been “no” or “not yet”?
– Has your faith wavered as a result of this experience?
– Does listening to the stories of others with similar examples help you to better understand your own situation and why God’s timetable may not match yours?

Next Chapter 5: In Our Hours of Need

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