Suddenly | A talk by Anne Chittick

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Espace spirituel anglophone

dimanche 9 août à 8h45

Durée émission : 10 min

Espace spirituel anglophone

I have been struck recently by the number of occasions in the Bible when God seems to answer prayer Suddenly and in unexpected ways!! Yet as we look at the circumstances more closely it is possible to see God working behind the scenes , preparing people and circumstances, answering in the ‘right’ time and in the ‘right’ way.

For example think of the story of Moses leading the children of Israel into the Promised Land. Originally the Israelites went to Egypt to avoid the famine that was devastating the land that they were living in. Joseph was sent on in advance to prepare the way albeit unwittingly! In an early story of ‘rags to riches’ he rose in time from slave boy to the second most powerful man in the land next to Pharaoh. Thus in a position to save his large family when famine struck!

However many many years had passed, Joseph had long since died and all that he had done for Egypt had been forgotten. The Israelites had grown into a large strong Nation in its own right. They were seen by the Egyptians as a threat, and so were oppressed and abused, treated as slaves. To the extent that Pharaoh ordered all the baby boys born to the Hebrews to be killed. You know the story, Moses was born and his life was saved by his mother who hid him for three months and then placed him in a basket in the river, leaving him to be found by Pharaoh’s daughter who took pity on him and brought him up as her own. He grew up safely in the palace with the very best of education and opportunity, but never forgot his Hebrew roots. The preparation had begun in the life of the man who would save these people.

He took the law into his own hands at the age of 40 and sought to save them in his way, killing an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew slave. This was not God’s way, though, and Moses had to flee for his life. For forty years, he looked after Jethro, the priest of Midian’s sheep. He probably thought that he had “blown it” for all time. Instead, God was using this time to change him and to prepare him for the job of a lifetime! 

For a long time, the Israelites had been crying out to be rescued from their slavery, and God was preparing Moses to answer their prayers. Yet when God stepped into this situation it seemed like He had acted Suddenly! As Moses was out tending the sheep in the middle of nowhere God spoke to him from the middle of a burning bush, showing him that He was a holy God and calling him to rescue the Israelites. By then Moses had given up the idea of being the saviour of his people, feeling himself inadequate for the task, but God knew that he was ready. The rescue went ahead slowly and steadily “at the right time.” 

There are many similar examples both in the Old and the New Testaments of God’s apparently “sudden” intervention, answering the prayers of His people. The story is the same however, as we look more closely, we see that God is preparing His people and the circumstances to answer their prayers. Perhaps the best example of all is the birth of Jesus. By the time that Jesus was born, the Israelites had been awaiting the coming of the Messiah for hundreds of years. He was expected to lead His people in a massive revolution that would free them from their oppressors, the Romans and establish Israel as a mighty nation. Instead, we learn in Luke Chapter 1 that apparently “suddenly” an angel appeared to a young peasant girl and separately to her fiancé, Joseph, a carpenter, announcing that Mary would become pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit, giving birth to the Messiah. Amazingly our salvation unfolds in a completely different way from what was expected. A very different and much greater Kingdom was ushered in, an eternal Kingdom, the complete fulfillment of which will happen when Jesus returns. That, too, will probably be “suddenly!”

Are there things in your life that you are waiting for, praying for? Don’t give up. Keep looking for and waiting for these answers. Perhaps they will come “suddenly,” and almost definitely differently from what you expected. 
Maybe you’re praying for direction in your life; the salvation of a loved one; an unfulfilled promIse or dream. The list is endless, but don’t give up. Persevere!! At the beginning of Chapter 12 of Hebrews we are urged to draw encouragement from those who have gone before us, running the race marked out for us. Particularly keeping our eyes on Jesus, His life and His victory over sin and death for us, so that we will not grow weary and lose heart. 

Don’t grow weary and lose heart today, the answer is coming and will perhaps appear “suddenly!”

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