When You‘ve Cried Out To God But He Hasn’t Answered Yet
Dr. Harold Sala
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” Psalm 46:10
Amy Carmichael called it the “age-long minute,” the period of time between when you pray, asking God to undertake, and the moment when His strong arm moves on your behalf. The “age-long minute!”
John Ebeling had his age-long minute shortly after he finished his college work. As a missionary’s son, he had seen enough of God in the lives of his parents who had served in China to know that God is there, and that he hears and answers prayer, but John had forgotten that because of the financial pressure he was under, and the stress of being a young dad, working, trying to go to school and take care of the needs of a young growing family. “I’ve had it,” he said. “I’m giving up on God.”
“Hold, on, John,” I said. “The ball game isn’t over.” For John, it was the “age-long minute,” when he almost despaired of ever seeing his prayers answered. Some 30 years later, John serves in his church, has gone through many different crises when he faced that “age-long minute,” and has come to realize that God’s timetable is often different from ours.
The “age-long minute” when it seems the skies are brass and God is indifferent to your need is often a time of intense struggle. “Where are you, God, when I’m hurting? My child is at the point of death. Do you not care?”
The disciples who walked with Jesus had their “age-long minute” as well. It took place on the stormy Sea of Galilee at the end of a long day when Jesus taught the multitude, and then He boarded the little fishing vessel belonging to one of the twelve and started across the waters of Galilee. Weary and exhausted from His labors, Jesus lay down and fell asleep as the waters began to be troubled by the fierce wind which came whistling down the Jordan valley. Actually, Jesus slept for only a few moments. But for the disciples it seemed to last forever until He arose from His sleep and commanded the waters to be calm.
In times of need, the actual span of hours or days between the moment we call unto the Almighty for His help and the answer is surely only a minute or so in the span of eternity, but caught in the hour or the time of need, it is an “age-long minute.”
Amy Carmichael wrote,
Thou art my Lord Who slept upon the pillow;
Thou art my Lord Who calmed the furious sea;
What matter beating wind and tossing billow
If only we are in the boat with Thee?
Hold us in quiet through the age- long minute
While Thou art silent and the wind is shrill;
What boat can sink when Thou, dear Lord, art in it?
What heart can faint that rests on Thy will?”
Speaking of that “age-long minute” the psalmist wrote, “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven” (Psalm 107:28-30).
Are you right now in the midst of an “age-long minute”? You’ve cried out for the Lord’s help, and you are still awaiting that answer? Don’t despair, friend. He’s there, and will answer in His time. Remember if you can, the “age-long minute” ends with the intervention of the Father, and until it is past, we must trust in the Father’s goodness and love knowing that His will is best. Hold steady, friend. Thank God the “age-long minute” never ever lasts forever.