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Dear Church,
 
Good to be back home! Hebrews 4:16 says, ‘Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need’. Our God is a God who promised to help us in our ‘time of need’’.  From our view, the reality may seem far from true. We may be praying for a breakthrough, but no miraculous answer comes soon; no dramatic change occurs in our focus of prayer.  In fact, sometimes our circumstances seem to even worsen!  Our wayward child we have been praying for becomes more rebellious, a sore relationship becomes more toxic, our financial misery becomes more complicated because we get laid off from work. How do we handle these seeming times of silence from heaven?  In a believer’s life there is an ever-present tension between the certainty of God’s promises and the still unchanged situations we face after we pray. A passage in the bible where the people of Israel didn’t see the fulfillment of God’s promises, they felt abandoned by God. Isaiah 49:15-16 says, ‘but Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” (Isaiah 49:14) to which the Lord responded immediately, in the next verse, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! 16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.’ 
 
I particularly like the last part of this answer, ‘I have engraved you on the palms of my hands’.  It was done on Calvary!  When the resurrected Christ appeared to his disciples with the wounds still in his hands!  No matter what difficulty we are facing, no matter how hard our battle with seemingly unanswered prayers, we must hold on to God’s unchanging promises that he will never leave us nor forsake us, and we will find His grace to help us in time of our need. All God’s promises are “yes” in Christ (2 Cor 1:20). This ‘waiting’ for God’s time is not easy, we may look away from his promises, take matters in our own hands or panic. This is the hardest element of faith, to wait for God’s timing, that “time of favor” as promised in Isaiah 49:8.  God has a designated time for everything he has promised.  It is important to have a heart that waits on the Lord and this is the hardest part of faith, waiting.  Waiting is synonymous with having faith, this waiting does not need to be joyless and consuming, there can be joy in waiting.  I know that in an instant-gratification world this may seem strange. The Holy Spirit gives us grace to ‘rejoice in hope.’  He renews our strength and rejuvenates our spiritual lives (Isaiah 40:31).  

I know some of you have been praying for a breakthrough and you’re tempted to be anxious but God is speaking to you through the scripture: “Wait on me. Don’t try to solve it yourself. Just wait, I have got you covered and I will sustain and strengthen you through your waiting.” 
 
Be Encouraged,
Mathews

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