More than twenty years ago, Larry Sparks, my booking agent, mailed me a cassette copy of a sermon by his pastor, Jack Hayford. It was titled ‘A Season of Suddenly’ and, at present, John and I have adopted that mantra.
In his articulate, compelling way, Pastor Hayford talked about how we sometimes pray regarding particular needs for long periods of time without any resolution or perceptible change. We forge ahead, looking neither left or right, with an almost stubborn determination that God is hearing us and working in our behalf. We believe, but not because we see any response to our petitions. Our belief is based solely on who He is and what He promised. Our assignment is to ask, seek, knock, and to keep on doing it.
In January, when we least expected it, God answered a prayer in such a way that we knew He had orchestrated the outcome. Much like dominoes, other prayers were answered and events triggered until we found ourselves in the throes of a visible, real time, act of the sovereign God of the ages. All we could do was stand back and utter words of gratitude and disbelief at the same time. In that brief chunk of time, God took a handful of impossibles and rendered them done. Asked and answered. And better than we hoped for.
Peter had just healed a man crippled from birth when he admonished the onlookers to repent and turn to God, so that there would come seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. (Acts 3:19) Zechariah shared the Lord’s promise to the house of Judah that the fasts they were to observe would be to them seasons of joy. (Zech 8:19) My personal favorite is probably the most familiar from John 5:4, “..For an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water.” You know the rest.
These wonderful seasons have been very, very rare for me, but they are impossible to mistake. When they occur, God moves in the events of my life, rendering me a mere observer. I am as helpless to stop His sovereignty as I am to start it.
For centuries, pastors, scholars and poets have quoted the timeless promise of Ecclesiastes 3. Solomon proclaims that our lives are lived in seasons and that God has made everything beautiful in its time. He adds that we cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
So, here is the crux of the matter:
God is working even though we cannot see it
He longs to take our most painful events and make them beautiful in time
When we call on Him, He answers