A friend of mine once asked, “Why does God refuse to listen to my prayers?” He said he had prayed very steadfastly for several days for a specific purpose and “nothing happened.”
Many people have experienced such feelings, and they have difficulty understanding why God does not operate on the same time frame as they would like.
Very often, our preconceived ideas of God are quite different than his.
As case in point is Jesus’ own family. In Mark 3, the Lord’s family had heard what he had been saying and they thought, “He has lost his senses” (Mark 3:21 NASB). The truth was Jesus’ brothers had never believed he was the son of God.
Why? It is not all that surprising. They had a preconceived idea of what the Messiah was supposed to do and he did not fit what they thought.
An excellent example of this is in John chapter seven when Jesus’ brothers attempted to convince him to travel to Jerusalem to attend the Feast of Tabernacles.
Held every year in September or October, the Feast of Tabernacles was an eight-day affair in which every Jew within 15 miles of Jerusalem was expected to attend. Many people thought this festival would present an excellent opportunity for the Messiah to rise and lead people in a revolt to overtake the Romans.
This may have been why Jesus’ brothers came to him and said, “Leave here and go into Judea, so that your disciples also may see your works which you are doing” (John 7:3 NASB). Jesus told them something interesting: “My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune.”
God does things in his time, not ours. It was not Jesus’ time to go to Jerusalem as the Messiah. But, his brothers could go and teach Jerusalem about Jesus. What was their problem? They refused to believe him (John 7:5).
When we ask God for anything, we must continue to believe in him and prepare ourselves to receive what we ask in his time, not ours (Matthew 7:11; James 1:5-6). We must lay aside our preconceived ideas of God and remember he will act in his way and in his own time.