Forty-five years in prison for a pair of jeans. Well, that and the security guard who testified I’d deliberately hit him with my car as I tried to escape. The judge turned that accusation into a conviction of robbery with a deadly weapon. Now, I admit, what I did was wrong. But the judgment seemed far out of proportion to the crime I had committed. If there was a God, He sure wasn’t looking out for me.
Or so I thought. But I didn’t know—or care—much about God back then.
I came to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior in prison. Then I prayed earnestly for Him to let me be released. Every day I asked Him to be with me, and I trusted Him to help me. But days turned into months and months turned into years and years turned into decades. Waiting was hard, and prison life was difficult.
I questioned God. I didn’t understand His purpose or plan for my life. Why did so many difficult things happen to me? Why didn’t He fix them? Why wasn’t He answering my prayers?! It seemed God didn’t care.
I fought discouragement regularly. Had God forgotten me? Sometimes I even wondered why I should bother to worship Him. I felt abandoned, even when I was with fellow believers. Satan worked hard, whispering his discouraging lies to my lonely heart.
But God’s Word told me the truth: God cared about everything in my life, and He was always with me. God was my eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful, always-present, incomprehensible Creator. He was GOD! But He was also my friend and the Savior who loves me, lives inside me, and promises never to abandon me. Truth also told me that God’s plan was perfect, even if His timing was hard to understand.
Truth reminded me that God’s standards and mine are very different and I should submit to God’s standard and authority and rest in His care. As I did that, it became easier to wait—with confidence and patience—for Him to answer my prayers.
I was in prison over thirty years, and I know that every moment of that time fits into God’s perfect plan for me. I clung tightly to the truth expressed in Psalm 86:5. It says, “O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help” (NLT). This verse helped me remember God’s unfailing goodness and mercy. I also knew, because of Romans 8:28, that everything I was going through would end up being for my good because He was with me and for me.
I don’t know what prayer you’re waiting for God to answer, but I know He’s listening.
His answer might not be the one you’re looking for, but it’ll be the best one possible. I don’t know how long you’ll wait either, but I know the answer will come in His perfect time. While you wait, seek His truth.
God’s truths, given to us through scripture, are the lifelines that keep us firmly centered in the flow of God’s love and care. Let His truth remind you of all He has done for you in the past. Let it assure you of all He will do now and in the future. God is always at work, making us into the image of His Son. And being like Jesus is worth the wait.
Waiting takes patience and persistence. Learn to be like the widow in Luke 18. She didn’t give up. She kept asking until the judge gave her what she wanted! Persistence isn’t endless repetition. It’s being relentless in your faith. It’s standing firm and not giving up on God, no matter what.
So, whether an answer is in sight or your situation seems hopeless, keep approaching God’s throne of grace. You will find the help you need right when you need it most (Hebrews 4:16). God knows what He is doing and He never stops listening to you, so don’t stop praying.
I prayed for many years, asking God to change my circumstances. But now I know that God was using my circumstances to change me. The One who knows everything knew what was best for me. I can see that now, and I have blessing after blessing to show for it.
ROY BORGES served 31 years in the Florida Department of Corrections, where he realized his need for a Savior. While incarcerated, Roy ministered to others through his writings, over 300 of which have been published. He now lives in Tampa, Florida, and is a member of the Victorious Living writing team.