“God is never late. His prayer just got answered later.”
My grandmother sent me a letter last year that held the key to a long hoped for but seemingly impossible treasure in my life.
Growing up I was rarely introduced to or around much extended family. Family tree projects in school were nightmares because I just didn’t know people or names beyond my grandparents–and even then, I didn’t know much about the people I did know!
So imagine my surprise and excitement when I received a letter from my grandmother that contained just a tiny piece of my history: the names of her parents and grandparents (all of whom are deceased and I have never met). That was it; no other information about her life or anything was included other than what she did for a living for a while. She has never been one to talk about her past, despite my asking several times.
So of course, like any person in 2014, I took to Google. After search upon search I found an obituary. Not one belonging to my grandparents but for a woman who married into my family. Now, some people might think, ok, so what? It’s an obituary. But this obituary took me on a discovery I’d never have imagined. It began when I saw where her funeral was held: Redfield United Pentecostal Church.
Names of family members were listed who attended the funeral, and searching for those names brought up more information leading me to eventually have my grandmother’s line of heritage back to the 1700’s and beyond. What amazed me was that almost my entire grandmother’s family was Apostolic, dating back to her grandfather who got saved in the early 1900’s and spread the message to the rest of the family.
What’s weird about that is that I have been an Apostolic believer my entire life–which she knew–but never mentioned that she grew up in it and had uncles who were preachers and pastors, cousins also, and that her father and grandparents were also in the church. As far as I know, my great grandfather died believing that the faith on my side of the family died out with her.
But God, in his sovereignty, brought my mother to the truth in the 80s. I was raised in it, despite the fact that she left the church when I was only nine years old.
I was telling a friend about my discovery and amazement that for all these years I thought I was the only person in my biological family that was living for God, and yet I had all of these cousins in the midwest who are pastoring churches, living for God, helping run major ministries, etc. My friend said something that really sat with me: “Wow. Just think that your great great grandfather was praying all those years for his offspring to be saved, and here you are five generations later living for God. He might’ve thought that would never happen.”
God answered his prayer. This man, who I’ve been told by a 70 year old cousin of mine I looked up through these obituaries, was a man of prayer. He helped start church facilities, led people to Christ and was faithful. I can only imagine all the times he got on his knees and asked God to save me–even though I wasn’t even thought of yet. And though my great great granddaddy never saw his prayer answered before his death, God answered it. Not only am I in church, but my sister and mother have also come back to God. I remember thinking, Granddaddy’s prayer came late. But then I realized, no, it didn’t. God is never late. His prayer just came later.
This happened with other individuals, too.
Remember Abraham? He was promised a son who would carry on his family line. He was promised to be the father of many nations, to have offspring that outnumbered the stars. Abraham’s prayer came later. He was old when Isaac was born and he never saw the millions upon millions of offspring that would come over the generations. But it happened. God answered His prayer. The answered prayer wasn’t late, though. It was just later.
Remember Joseph? God promised him in a dream that he would rule over his brothers. Imagine his disbelief when he was sent to Egypt and cast into prison. His promise looked impossible, but it came to pass at the perfect time. It wasn’t late; just later. (Could you imagine if it happened earlier? His family–and the bloodline to Jesus–would’ve died out in the famine.)
Remember Moses? Moses never stepped foot in the promised land but God fulfilled His promised to bring His children there. His prayer wasn’t late; it was in God’s perfect timing. It was just later.
Remember Hannah? She was promised a child. Yet every month when her body showed her that she was not pregnant, she probably wondered when her promise would come. He wasn’t born right when Hannah asked for Him, but he was born at exactly the time God wanted him to be so he could fulfill the call on his life. Her prayer wasn’t late; just later.
Remember David? God promised him that the Messiah would come through his bloodline. David never saw the birth of Jesus, but his promise was answered right on time. Not late; just later.
Remember Peter? Jesus told him that he would give him the keys to the kingdom. These weren’t physical keys to heaven; they were the words that needed to be preached to the New Testament church on how to be saved. Do you think Peter questioned if he really had them when he denied Jesus though? He likely thought that he made such a huge mistake that God could never use him again. That his sin ruined the call on his life. But Jesus doesn’t go back on promises. God restored Peter and on the day of Pentecost, Peter stood and preached the message of salvation to the very first Christian church. Peter’s promise came later, even though he had made a mistake.
What about you? Are you still waiting on your promise? Are you wondering why a prayer hasn’t been answered yet? Are you wondering if a mistake you made has caused you to lose out on your promise? Don’t give up. God is faithful. Just as God answered all of these people’s prayers, and just as God answered my great great granddaddy’s prayer, God is faithful to fulfill your needs as well. If you are waiting for your miracle, no matter how impossible it seems, make a commitment to trust God and His timing. Study the people in the Bible whom God made promises to. Study the verses that show God’s faithfulness. Your prayer isn’t late, it’s just coming later.