One of the worst times in my life was when I felt that God had let me down by not answering one of my prayers. From as far back as I can remember I had always wanted to be a writer and I finally completed my first book when I was 43 years old. I believed the promise God made to us in Psalm 37 “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him and He will do this”.
One of the main desires of my heart is to write and to share with others what a mighty God we serve.
Someone had prophesied over my life that God would give me the desire of my heart and the verse given to me in confirmation of this prophesy is found in Jeremiah 30:2 “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you’”.
I had covered all the bases – I had prayed about the book, someone had confirmed it with a prophesy which was then followed up by a scripture verse and the book itself is very scripturally based. In fact a friend of mine who read the manuscript before I submitted it for publication had this to say “Actually, Noel, it would be a very good book if only it didn’t have so many scripture verses in it!”
I truly believed and had absolute faith that the book would be accepted for publication. I posted it off to three publishers – two of them never bothered to reply and the third one sent me a politely worded rejection letter.
To say I was devastated is an understatement.
I was totally shattered and my faith and trust in God’s faithfulness was shaken. I had believed so strongly that this book would be accepted for publication and my faith had been unwavering! I spent days crying and weeks asking God why my book had been rejected.
After a period of time I started working on the manuscript again. I rewrote quite a few things and added some other things. I also spent a lot of time in prayer and reading the Bible.
Six years later I submitted the book to a partner publisher in America and they accepted it for publication.
I know now that if my book had been accepted first time round it would have been one of the worst things that could have happened to me and my family. I would have taken all the credit and become insufferably proud. I would not have been able to cope with the public speaking that goes hand in hand with having to promote a book. There was still a lot more healing that had to take place in my life and issues from my past that needed to be dealt with before my story was made public. I needed those years to grow in Him, to learn to rely solely on Him and to trust Him in all things. I needed that time to realize that God’s timing is always perfect and that He will not allow anything to happen to us – whether good or bad – until the time is right and He has equipped us to deal with the situation.
I thank God with every fiber of my being that He did not answer that prayer of mine at that time.
John 7:18 says: “He who speaks on his own does so to gain honour for himself, but he who works for the honour of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him”
If God had answered my original prayer and the book had been published when I first submitted it – I would have spoken in my own strength and failed miserably.
In Ezekiel 36 it states “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you”
I needed those years of unanswered prayer to recognize and acknowledge God’s spirit in me and to grow into the new heart that God had given me.
The minister and writer Theodore Cuyler said “I do not believe there is such a thing in the history of God’s eternal kingdom as a right prayer, offered in the right spirit, that remains forever unanswered.”
It took six years for my prayer to be answered and what a blessing that it did take so long.