I was reading through my old prayer journal again, seeing if there was anything relevant to my current situation in life. There were some situations that were just downright unpleasant, and I’m glad they’re over. There were other situations that God wonderfully redeemed, and I was pleased to see how He answered my prayers. But even the pleasant situations that I was reminiscing about are not very relevant to my life now. I’m content to be looking back on them, now in a different season and with different issues to focus on.
People sometimes pray, “God, thank you in advance for….” God does answer prayer. But we don’t know what the answer will be. I don’t know if it’s productive to thank Him “in advance” for a healing or a salvation. We don’t know that that will come to pass. What we have are the promises in His Word. We can thank Him in advance for listening and for correcting our desires.
I am looking forward to looking back on my current life in a few years. I am looking forward to seeing what God has done. There are a few trials that I wish would pass more quickly. It’s like when you have an exam looming ahead of you. You know that you will not die from it and you know that it will not go on forever, and that after the end, you will be totally free and not have to face that same trial again. But first….you have to struggle through.
Heaven is one thing to look forward to. But we can experience deliverance in this life, too. David writes, I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. (Ps. 27:13, 14) There may be hardships that God will not remove, such as physical illnesses, unfulfilled desires, or a “thorn in the flesh.” (2 Cor.12:7) But we can see the goodness of the Lord and experience His grace, and that will give us joy. And we don’t have to wait until the answer comes before rejoicing. The promises have already been given to us.