Sometimes when I get into a situation that doesn’t look like anything like what God promised, I panic. I then pray and remind God what He told me. “God, you said that if I did this, then you would do that. So why am I in this situation? Where are you? Why aren’t you being true to your promise?” Have you ever prayed a panic prayer like that? You heard God, did what He said, and the results weren’t what you expected.
When that happens, we trend to freak out a bit. We hear God and then our imagination creates what the outcome should look like. When it doesn’t turn out that way, we ask God why He isn’t holding up His end of the bargain. We think our obedience should be rewarded. We even think our act of faith should be broadcast to all of creation, but we end up in a situation that requires more faith.
Jacob was in this same boat in Genesis 32. God told him to return to the land of his father Isaac. On the way, he sent servants to his brother, whom he had double crossed, to tell him that he was coming. The servants came back with the news that his brother was coming and that he had 400 men with him. Jacob’s mind went to work. He thought of the worst possible scenario. In verses 11 and 12 he prayed, “Save me, please, from the violence of my brother, my angry brother! I’m afraid he’ll come and attack us all, me, the mothers and the children. You yourself said, ‘I will treat you well; I’ll make your descendants like the sands of the sea, far too many to count’” (MSG).
He didn’t know if his brother was still angry 20 years later. He didn’t know if his brother was coming to kill all of them. He saw a small piece of the puzzle, made assumptions, panicked, and prayed. He’s not that different than we are. He saw a situation snd thought of the worst outcome. He didn’t trust God, so he reminded God of what He had said. I wonder how that makes God feel. I wonder if He does a face palm with some of our panic prayers and says, “Will you just trust me?”
It’s one thing to pray a promise of God so you can build your faith and another to use it to remind God in case He forgot. Jacobs situation wasn’t anything like what he had imagined. In fact, his brother was coming to bless him. The same is true of our situations. If God has promised you something, and you’ve acted in faith, don’t look at the circumstances. Trust God to do what He said He will do. There’s no need to panic pray. God keeps His promises and is true to His word.