By Maria Fontaine
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I had a conversation with a woman who had received Jesus a short time earlier but didn’t yet understand how to use the Bible as a source of guidance or as the foundation for her faith.
She seemed very sad and had obviously been crying, so I tried to probe a bit to find out why. All she would say was that she couldn’t tell me any details, but that a couple of members of her immediate family were having some serious problems, and the situation was very bad and didn’t seem to have a solution.
I explained to her that even when we have no answer, God always has an answer. He is in the business of working out impossible situations when we come to Him for help. I paraphrased a couple of verses for her that she could meditate on and memorize:
“Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. If you ask Jesus, you will receive; when you search for the answers, you will find them; when you knock on His door, He will always open it for you and help you.”
I told her that these were powerful promises from the Bible, and because she is God’s child, He was speaking directly to her through His Word.
Later, when I was praying for her, the Lord reminded me that if I had an opportunity to talk with her again, I should explain why sometimes God’s answers aren’t immediate. And when they do come, they may not be what we are expecting. Otherwise, she could become very discouraged if, when expecting an answer right away that could miraculously eliminate the problems, she didn’t see the results she expected. Here’s how I tried to explain it to her:
Remember how we talked about how Jesus loves you very much and He promises to answer your prayers? I’d like to share a little more about how those answers come. When you pray and believe, you have done your part and God will do His part. We sometimes quickly see what we ask the Lord for; at other times, it takes longer. And when the answer comes, it may not always appear to be what we think is best. When things don’t seem to be what we expect, it may be because we can’t yet understand God’s even better purpose that He is working in response to our prayers.
There are many things that we don’t know, but God knows everything. Many times, answering our prayers fully may require Him to work in ways that don’t make sense to us in the moment. It takes faith to believe His promise that He will answer in the best possible way to bring about the greatest good in the end.
Here is a little illustration. What if someone who you love hasn’t been feeling well and you’ve been praying for them to get better, but instead their health doesn’t improve or perhaps gets worse? At that point it can look like God hasn’t answered your prayers. But what if this prompts them to see a doctor, who notices something else during his exam and decides to run some tests? What if the tests uncover the beginning of a serious disease that can be gotten rid of at this early stage?
Suddenly, what looked like God’s silence in response to your prayer becomes an answer that goes beyond what you had hoped for. God took your prayer and answered it in a way that worked a greater good than you could have even asked for.
The Bible says: “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him.”1 This promise applies even to the things that to us look negative or hard to bear right now. Because Jesus loves you, He has promised to turn even what seems bad in the moment into a greater good. Because He is all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful, we can trust Him to do what He has promised.
In subsequent conversations that I had with her, I shared with her a few Bible verses on waiting on the Lord and on not being afraid, which I took from the two lists that I’ve included below. I encouraged her not only to memorize the verses and to meditate on them, but to also use them in her prayers.
I thought that you might like to have these verses for your encouragement too, as well as to use when ministering to others. There is power in God’s Word! The Lord cautioned me about not minimizing the importance of His promises simply because we’ve heard them so many times for many years. His promises are no less powerful because we have used them in the past. In fact, we should see them as even more powerful, because we have seen and experienced the power of them time and time again! God still uses them to speak to us. His Word is always alive!
Verses on Resting in the Lord
1. Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore, he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!—Isaiah 30:18 NIV
2. Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.—Psalm 37:7 NASB
3. But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.—Micah 7:7 NASB
4. I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!—Psalm 27:13–14 ESV
5. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.—Colossians 1:11 HCSB
6. I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.—Psalm 40:1 KJV
7. My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.—Psalm 62:5 KJV
8. Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.—Psalm 33:20–22 ESV
9. From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.—Isaiah 64:4 ESV
10. For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.—Psalm 62:1 ESV
11. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.—Philippians 1:6 ESV
12. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.—Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV
Verses on Faith and Overcoming Fear
1. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.—Isaiah 41:10 NIV
2. When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.—Psalm 56:3 NIV
3. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid.—Isaiah 12:2 ESV
4. Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.—John 14:27 GNT
5. But now, this is what the Lord says … Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.—Isaiah 43:1 NIV
6. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.—Psalm 23:4 ESV
7. The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?—Psalm 27:1 NIV
8. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.—Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV
9. For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid … for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.—Isaiah 41:13–14 NIV
10. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.—Psalm 46:1 NIV
11. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The LORD is with me; he is my helper.—Psalm 118:6–7 NIV
12. Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.—Proverbs 29:25 NIV
13. I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.—Psalm 34:4 NLT
14. Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.—Deuteronomy 3:22 NIV
15. I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.—Romans 8:38 NLT
16. What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.—Psalm 56:3–4 KJV
17. In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.—Psalm 56:11 KJV
18. Thou shall not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flies by day; Nor for the pestilence that walks in darkness; nor for the destruction that wastes at noonday.—Psalm 91:5–6 NKJV
19. For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’—Isaiah 41:13 NASB
20. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD.—Jeremiah 1:8 ESV
21. Be not afraid, only believe.—Mark 5:36 KJV
22. Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.—Colossians 1:13 KJV
23. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.—2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
Originally published July 2019. Adapted and republished July 2022.
Read by Carol Andrews. Music by John Listen.
1 Romans 8:28.