Have you ever asked God for something, and then were surprised when he acted? This has happened to me at several points in my life. Some things I asked over and over while others only once. The most recent example had to do with our dishwasher, of all things. The control panel had been on the fritz, but we were able to trick it into working. Until one day, it didn’t work at all.
My husband and I fretted over our options. I was not ready to buy a new dishwasher as this one was only 3 years old. Finally, after two days of dishes piling up, and worry over the cost, I did something I should have done first. I prayed. I felt a little silly praying over a dishwasher, of all things, but it seemed wiser than just worrying about it.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
So I prayed asking God to let the dishwasher work. Then I pushed the button and it worked! I was shocked! Then I was humbled. Of course it worked! I asked God to intervene, and he did.
This was a more immediate response than Miriam and the Israelites received. They had been crying out to God for 400 years, asking Him to intervene on their behalf.
But the Israelites continued to groan under their burden of slavery. They cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God. Exodus 2:23
So God reaches out to Moses and responds:
I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. … So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. Exodus 3:7-8
The Israelites asked God many times for help. My husband and I asked repeatedly to be parents. Waiting for over a year felt like an eternity for me. I cannot begin to imagine waiting for 400 years. Yet I find that my reaction and the Israelites reaction to God’s answer were very similar. Disbelief. Shock. I had given up my dream of becoming a mom, thinking that God’s answer was no. 400 years had made many Israelites give up. When God sent Moses to the Israelites and a baby to me, we both said no way! I asked and asked but did not trust that He would deliver.
I learned a lot about God through that experience, and the Israelites definitely saw a side of God they have never seen before. I thought that because I had learned once to trust that I would not have to learn it again. Silly me! I still ask God for things and I still am shocked when He intervenes. But I am learning to trust him more as I know Him more. In Miriam, Moses tells Miriam,
Turns out God did not say no, he said not yet. God heard every one of my prayers just as he heard every one of the Israelite’s prayers. I am still growing in my knowledge of this great and mighty God, and I rest in knowing that He never changes. I will continue to present my requests to Him, and will try not to be so surprised when He answers.