Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
Matthew 7:7

Earlier this summer my little nephew and I were speaking about the Rainbow Loom bracelets he and his sister make. Last summer when this craft made its debut and captured the attention of young children, my niece and nephew had the full range of supplies to become wonderful crafters with these small elastic links. I described to him another color bracelet I would like; one different than the ones he and his sister already made for me. He said he could make it, and that he would. Summer play and time moved along.

Then one day late in summer, there it was. He placed the beautiful pink bracelet on my writing desk along with a tender personal note he wrote to me in his uneven print. I do not know which one means more to me, the note or the bracelet. I was moved by both and cherish them equally. The Holy Spirit stirred me, and I was given to consider the power of listening, and especially the listening heart of God.

Sometimes it takes a child to remind us that what we say is being heard. God listens to everything we ask of Him. Scripture tells us, God wants us to come to Him and ask. Before we can receive, we must ask, seek, and knock. Then God can respond. Sometimes our re-quests are lighthearted; sometimes we ask for serious help from deep within. He hears each prayer, weak or strong. He hears. He is faithful to answer.

God is prompt to the moment, said Charles Spurgeon. When our requests to God result in Him seeming still, distant, and unresponsive to our prayers, we are wise to remember that God has reasons for everything. His timing is part of His reasoning. Grieving from a painful loss, going through an illness, and adjusting to life in new ways because of unexpected changes, are examples of situations that require time. Time is an essential component to bring us to where the Lord would have us to be—spiritually, emotionally, and physically. The Lord is always working matters out for our good (Romans 8:28). To God, our spiritual development is chief. If the Lord were to grant our prayers at the moment we speak them, what dreadful results might befall us. God loves us so deeply. When He delays answers or brings answers out in an entirely different way, it is because He loves us. That is what love does. It gives, always for the best outcome for another. Always.

Jesus showed His love for the Father and for you and me when Jesus went to Calvary and died on the Cross for our sins. That was an ugly act; it did not at all appear to be an outpouring of love. But it was. It was a sacrificial act of love. In it, Jesus covered our sins with His blood so that we would be forgiven by God. Our value to God is inestimable. Our souls and all else that make up our lives are never too small or great for us to go to Him and ask. His heart moves. His answers come. Wrapped in His love.

The little pink bracelet my nephew made of Rainbow Loom elastics with matching pink beading in the center is beautiful. It was a joy to receive it long after we first talked about it. What I did not expect was the pink beading that he artistically placed in the middle of the bracelet. I did not ask for that. An extra. A trimming. Something my nephew thought would make it more beautiful in appearance and richer in texture. It is.

Keeping faith in the Lord is a lifelong process. Faith and trust go hand-in-hand. If we say we have faith in the God who created us and loves us best and most, then we wait to see His answers, which are always for our best and His eternal glory. When God answers our prayers, a long time after we pray them or in ways we did not expect, it is as though He is saying You asked me, so I did. God’s outcome will be refined with a trimming and timing better than we can imagine. When God answers prayers that thrill us, and when He does not answer as we asked,
three words ring out from every answer He brings, I love you.

Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, You change not. Your heart is always listening to our
hearts. Thank You, Lord, for seeing way up ahead as to how prayers are best answered for us. Help us,
Lord, to have double faith in matters especially difficult. Touch us, Holy Spirit, with encouragement, patience,
and wisdom so that we trust in the process of waiting and when answers come. Your love for us is
woven into every answer You bring. In the Name of Power, Jesus Christ, Amen.