I want to offer a bit of encouragement to you today about a situation that seems to be common to all of us who pray.
We’ve all been in the position where we are desperately asking God to answer a prayer. Yes?
We watch and we wait. Watch and wait.
Finally, we see an open door. Yes, we say, thank you Lord!
Knowing God has heard us, we walk through the open door only to have the disappointment of it slamming in our face or worse, we walk through, the door shuts behind us and we realize we’re in the wrong room.
The wrong place.
This could be about anything we desired – from a job opportunity, the house we thought was perfect, or the relationship we thought was about to be reconciled in a particular way.
I thought for sure this answer was from You, Lord. It looked so clear, so right. How could I have been so wrong? What are you doing God? Are you playing with my emotions?
It’s a false positive.
When I get sucked into one of these false positives, jumping on every possibility that looks like an answer, I remind myself of Joseph (Jacob’s son) and his time in prison.
Joseph was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers (Gen. 37:26) and ended up in Egypt, enslaved to Potiphar, captain of the guard in Pharaoh’s army.
After Potiphar’s wife wrongly accuses him of sexual assault, he winds up in prison. (Genesis 39:19-20)
During all this time, Joseph’s relationship with God grew and he gave honor to Him by his obedience, his patience and doing the best he could in whatever position he was placed.
But still, in all of this, I have to believe Joseph prayed like crazy to be released, probably since the day his brothers threw him down the well!
Through all he endured he waited patiently for God to answer.
Finally, there looked like the perfect opportunity.
While Joseph is in prison, he interprets a dream for the king’s cupbearer who is in-prisoned with him.
Joseph, seeing the cupbearer is pleased with his interpretation, says to him: “… When all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness, mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of prison.” (Genesis 40:14 NIV)
Now he’s thinking,
Ah, so this is how God is going answer my prayer. God gave me the interpretation to this dream. It’s my open door. It’s my way out!
But it was a false positive.
Verse 23 of chapter 40 says, “The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.
The Bible doesn’t say Joseph was discouraged, but I bet he was.
I would be. And I do get down in the dumps when I see an opening, a possible answer and find it’s not for me.
You see, sometimes I get so impatient for God to respond to my calls for help (especially when the wait is long), that I force the timing on answers when God’s timing is different.
Maybe the circumstances are not where God needs them to be yet.
Maybe He isn’t finished setting things into motion to complete His purpose.
Or, maybe I jump the gun. Speak too soon. Walk though the wrong doors.
Maybe I need to put less worry in my wait and put more weight in my trust.
Trust that God will answer at His perfect time.
It was a full two years before the cupbearer finally brought Joseph to the attention of Pharaoh. Just in time for him to interpret Pharaoh’s dream—one that would elevate Joseph to a leader in Egypt, which in turn put him in a position to save his brothers and the whole nation of Israel.
So, in looking at our own prayer life, why the false positives and how do we avoid the trap?
2. Satan knows our weaknesses—our patience threshold. He’s lurks about waiting to trip us up. Don’t let him. (1 Peter 5:8)
3. Study God’s Word. The Bible is chalked full of stories of long waits with purpose and God’s faithful answers. (Hebrews 11, 4:12)
4. When God is quiet, we often jump at opportunities to answer our own prayers. We walk though doors not meant for us. If you see what looks to be an open door, seek God’s wisdom. Pray about your prayer. (James 1:5)
5. Recount your own stories of answered prayers. Keeping a journal of “God things” is helpful.
I hope this has lightened your load today. Even when it looks like our answer is far from coming, God hasn’t forgotten us and the surprise behind His open door is worth the wait.
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14
Connect with Christy Mobley at, Joying in the Journey christymobley.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.
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