I know, I know… God’s timing is perfect and He will give us the desires of our hearts. I’m both familiar with these truths and believe they hold true.
But that being said, REALLLLLY, tho… God is ignoring me.
…and the two pregnancy tests in my hand are proof.
Fun fact: Did you know it takes three years for an unused pregnancy test to expire? –THREE – flipping – YEARS!!!! Yet here they are; unopened, and expiring in two months.
As I ran my fingers along the foil packaging this last week, I couldn’t help but think how those two pieces of plastic were such incriminating proof that God had been letting all of my calls go straight to voicemail (at least in this area.) How those two pregnancy tests were purchased, you guessed it… three years ago. But how we’ve wanted a baby for so much longer than that (5 1/2 years to be exact.)
I thought back to when my daughter was 6 months old and how we had started trying to have another child. How God closed that door. How I had pleaded with Him to allow me to be pregnant by my daughter’s 2nd birthday. How I watched as her 3rd…4th…5th… birthdays came and went, with no hope of a baby in sight. How she turned six this month.
“You’re right,” God acknowledged, “…I have been ignoring you.”
(And strangely, He didn’t even try to deny it.)
In Matthew 15 (MSG) a woman is pleading with Jesus for a miracle. She asks not once… not twice… but numerous times. Yet, scripture says something shocking:
It says, …Jesus ignored her. (The Bible’s words, not mine.)
Even still, we watch as the woman refuses to be deterred. But Jesus takes it a step further…
…He refuses her.
I don’t know about you, but I could have handled the times God ignored me. But when He refused me? Well… quite frankly, that enraged me!
How I had prayed over that empty room in my home, believing it would one day hold all the memories and onesies of my next child. How I had imagined where I’d position the crib and the color I would paint the walls, and how I celebrated the miracle it was that my husband and I were – even considering – having another baby (when just a couple of years earlier, we were much more preoccupied with looking up divorce attorneys.)
How in spite of all of my hopes and prayers and belief for that baby, the room stayed empty and unpainted; how instead, the medical bills piled on the counter next to the coffee pot after the miscarriage.
Believe me when I say, I know God’s refusal stings. Much like when your toddler unnecessarily swipes you across the face with the palm of their hand as you’re feeding them a spoonful of peas. How everything in you wants to grab God sternly by the hand and declare, THAT. WAS. NOT. NICE. How at times you can almost feel Him laughing at you. At best, He’s not taking you seriously.
I’m sure the woman in the passage felt the same way. But nevertheless, she refused to budge in her belief.
We find her on her hands and knees now; begging… pleading… believing… for the miracle she heard He’s capable of doing. She’s heard all about this man named Jesus and what others have said He can do, and now she wants to see it with her own eyes. She refuses to relinquish her position until she does.
And it says this:
…Jesus gave in.
Don’t miss this sequence of events:
Jesus ignored her.
Jesus refused her.
…Jesus gave in.
God is ignoring you, you’re right… This wont be a post trying to talk you out of that. (Though I’m sure there are beautiful ones that smell like rainbows and unicorns and are titled ‘God’s timing is perfect’ that may try. This just isn’t one of them.)
I’m here today not to change your mind, but to pose a question — A question straight to the area in which you feel most ignored by God, and the very thing you’ve nearly given up believing for because of it. (It’s the same question God put on my heart this last month when the birthday festivities and those two plastic sticks, represented every unanswered prayer I have prayed.)
God is asking us to consider this:
How many times have we given up, right before He was about to give in?
How many times have we given up on a dream… a calling… heck, a person… right before God was about to swoop in and do what only He can do?
Because like the woman in this passage, our most unrelenting pleas have indeed been rejected (God’s not denying that.) But what if they’re also – just one step away – from being answered?
What if we’re right, God’s rescue is nowhere in sight… but what if it’s also just around the corner?
That’s how it was for Paul.
In Acts 27:20, Paul says these words while hopelessly lost at sea, “It had been many days since we had seen either sun or stars. Wind and waves were battering us unmercifully, and we lost all hope of rescue.”
I wonder how many prayers Paul cried out to God before he lost all hope of rescue? Because here’s the thing… it was just around the corner.
If you’re like me, you haven’t seen the sun or stars in a long time. Not only has God ignored you, He’s refused you, and now it seems you’ve been enveloped in this storm for so long, you fear the miracle you’ve been praying for will never happen. Or worse, that God is no longer listening. Sometimes you swear you can even feel Him laughing at you.
You’ve sent out well over 100 resumes and received not even a single call back. The nursery has stayed empty for going on 6 years now, and the pregnancy tests aren’t just negative, they aren’t even opened! You’ve cried. You’ve gotten on your hands and knees. You’ve said something to God to the tone of, THAT. WAS. NOT. NICE!!!
And yah know what we’ve received in return?
God’s not denying that. He’s simply asking why we lost hope in the miracle because of it? Why we’ve falsely believed that because we can’t see the sun and stars today, that somehow that means they no longer exist at all?
Today God’s asking us to take hold of the prayer we’ve given up praying, and to believe for the miracle it would be that His redemption and the fulfillment of that prayer is right around the corner.
(His redemption for you & me & baby Ortiz.)