The hand motioned two dots closer before it hits number “12”. On its opposite end, the shorter hand hangs motionless.
3…2…1… I counted. It says “6” on the clock by the wall inside the house. Outside, rippling silhouettes of leaves and twigs drew on the bluish-black, almost gray sky, but with streaks of indigo.
It was getting dark. It has been in a very long time since I saw these patterns outlined the horizons. The sky has been pouring for weeks; morning ’til evening. It was non-stop. But tonight, it’s a rain-less night.
The evening closed in and then suddenly, the neighborhood’s power got cut. Before I could complain that I’ll be spending time with the dark, it’s the rain-less night that got my attention.
With the absence of lights gleaming at the stark community, darkness blanketed my view. There’s only the stillness and silence, which gave clarity of a rain-less night; And the finally clear evening is a night to thank for.
Weeks earlier, I have been praying for the stealth winds to subside and the pouring to stop. I missed the sun.
I missed the warmth and working under the sun. With no worrying on how to stay dry and continue the task needs to be done for the day.I counted not only seconds, hours, but days. It was raining for almost a month.
Though I know I have no total control, I prayed for a little sun…
Still, not a streak nor a dot peaked through the pouring clouds. I missed the moments when it was a walk in a sunshine and it seemed God answers every prayer; even those which are trivial like cancelling the rain when you need to get out or when you forget to bring an umbrella.
Then God answered this silly prayer, but in a rather twisted way. His way.
God did not give me the sun, but He sure stopped the rain. With that I knew the One who hears is teaching me something. The rain-less night, is a night for a lesson learned.
Have you ever had those times when you get prayers unanswered. Questions remained and your view of a situation is just cloudy. Disappointments were unavoidable; frustrations after frustrations. Troubles seemed non-stop. We doubted if God really hears. We doubted if we had the right kind of faith too.
We expect God to answer in a certain, more bearable way: our way. We ask, “God, just a little sun,”…”Lord just a little help… if not make this problem go away,”…”I’m not asking for a miracle, God, just a small dot of hope…” We ask, “Why?”… “Lord, why not?”
When the rains in life are relentless, it is the best season our prayers be restless. “Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ. (1 Thes. 5 17-18).” Faith and obedience in God is not by how fast we get answers, or be blessed by how we want to experience blessings. God is never dependent on people’s choices. He still and does answer prayers, it is just not in a way we understand.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts
Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV)
God may not always stop the rain during the day when we need it. Sometimes He needs us to wait for the night, to wait and hope in the night.
It is dark. But it is in darkness where He wants to show certain patterns revealing His
ways, which He can not make us see during the day, when there’s too much light blocking our sight.
When things seems to go our way, and prayers get answered immediately we tend to rely on our own efforts in knowing God. Thinking we must have been doing what is right. It would be impossible for God to punish ’cause we read the Bible, we serve, we had finally achieved being perfect servants. We think, “God can not withhold me His blessings, I’m giving glory to Him.” We only see things our way, in our own limited understanding of what God seeks in a person’s character and faith.
In the night, when we cannot see, we learn to depend on a single source of light. We can’t trust on our own capacity anymore. When we cannot see troubles in life end, and we cannot get answers clearly anymore, the night teaches us to wait, to expect for day to come.
We rest in the night and hope in the Lord. He is teaching us patience in times we are uncertain.
We can only trust in the One in control when we feel frustrated and nothing we see happening swerves our troubles and pain. We tried to drive our own way, or even please God just to receive what we know we deserve. We manipulate faith by following “christianized” self-help strategies from books, wisdom from famous authors-pastors, trainings, workshops, etc. We do good and we create a walk-in-a-sunshine lifestyle. But self-efforts in trying to be right in the Lord’s sight leads us to meeting our own desires and not His. The night teaches us to open our eyes and see things wider; deeper if not clear as the day.
Trust and confidence in God is alone dependent on Him, on His character and wisdom.
He is an all-knowing parent, He patiently reminds us in times of uncertainty that we can not do things our own, but He is here with us. He is gently guiding us instructions (the Bible), not only for us to follow but also to know what He promises. Prayer is our basic strategy God taught us to face life’s storms and aftermaths. Prayer is God’s way not only for us to seek answers but also seek the One who gives answers. We search God’s heart, His voice, His character, His help.
He is a friend who listens in the silence of hearts and desires a close walk with us in both still and stormy weather.
When prayers seemed unanswered, trust God, His Word through Jesus. He works with perfect understanding of seasons. His hand is always in motion, even if slow; He is making plans in His perfect time according to His relentless love for us.
Trust in Him, O people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is our refuge.
Psalm 62:8 (NIV)
We had thanked God for sunny days. Have you thanked Him for a rainless night? Look outside, tonight might just be the perfect night.