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What Does God Say When People
Pray? (part 8)
And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto
him, though he bear long with them?
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love
him, who have been called according to his purpose.
The impact of reading these two verses confirms the spirit of optimism
within me. In Romans 8:28, Paul promises that everything will work out
in the end-that those called according to God's purposes will experience
God working things out in their lives. Yet, it doesn't promise when He
In Luke 18:7, the scripture promises that God will hear and answer the
prayers of His elect; He hears our cries. But it doesn't say when He will
Every Christmas, Susan insists that we sit down together and watch "It's
a Wonderful Life." The moral of that movie coincides with the optimism
of these Scriptures. "What we do really does make a difference in people's
lives." But it also illustrates an implication of this Scripture, we may
never know the impact our life has had on others.
By a twist of fate, or the providence of God, depending on your perspective,
Roman Turski learned the impact of a good deed.
The war seemed imminent after Hitler annexed Austria, so "Roman Turski"
quit his job as a flight instructor in France to go back to Poland, his
homeland. On the flight home, his plane developed engine trouble so he
landed in Vienna to have it repaired.
The next morning, just as Turski left the hotel to shop for souvenirs,
a Jewish man ran past the door and crashed into Turski. His face was white
as a ghost, and all Turski could hear him say above his panting was "Gestapo-Gestapo!"
When Turski was a boy, he had participated in some anti-Semitic activities,
like throwing stones through the store windows owned by Jews, but this
time, he did the right thing. He ran with the man back to his hotel room
and hid him under the bed. He took off his coat, messed up his hair and
sat up in bed like he'd just woke up. When the Gestapo burst through his
door, he spoke the only German he knew and said, "I don't understand it."
When the Gestapo left his room, Turski helped the man up from beneath
his bed and pointed to Warsaw on his flying chart. Using hand gestures,
he asked the man, "Do you want to go to Warsaw?" He drew prison bars to
indicate that the man would be arrested if he landed at any airport and
made it clear that they would have to land in an open field. The man's
narrow face and dark brown eyes showed great appreciation at the offer.
They evaded customs at the airport and took off toward freedom. Turski
sat the plane down in an open field, just across the Polish border. As
he said goodbye to the stranger, Turski gave him most of the money he had
on him and showed him where he was on the map.
Turski took off again, leaving his "Jewish friend" behind. When he arrived
at the airport, the immigration police met him with a warrant to search
his plane for an illegal immigrant. Turski, of course, cooperated fully.
When the war started, Turski flew fighter planes for Poland. When Germany
crushed them, he went with thousands of his countrymen into Rumania where
he was captured and put into a concentration camp. After he escaped, he
flew for the French Air Force and when they collapsed, he joined England's
forces. While flying for England, his plane went down.
The chief surgeon of the hospital thought he was a hopeless case, but
a surgeon from out of town volunteered to operate. The brain surgeon read
a news item in the newspaper about a Polish hero, Roman Turski, shooting
down five planes before crashing himself. The newspaper said his condition
was hopeless. The surgeon asked the Royal Air Force at Edinburgh to fly
him there to try to save the war hero. They agreed and the hospital allowed
him to operate.
Why would he go to all that trouble? A few years before, the surgeon
with a long narrow face and brown eyes was running from the Gestapo when
a Polish pilot rescued him-a man named Roman Turski.
Turski would live to received decorations from four different governments
for his heroism. And to thank the man whose life he saved, that later saved
-Fresh Illustrations http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html
But not everyone lives to see the results of their good deeds. Take
Ruth for instance. After Naomi lost her husband and her two sons, she urged
her daughter-in-laws to go find themselves another husband and forget about
any obligations they felt towards her. One of them took Naomi's advise,
another one didn't. Here's Ruth's reply: "Don't urge me to leave you or
to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will
stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God." (Ruth 1:16)
Ruth traveled with Naomi back to Naomi's homeland and gleaned grain
from the fields to support herself and her mother-in-law. When Boaz, the
owner of the field noticed Ruth, he asked her to stay in his field and
work right behind his hired hands. He invited her to drink from his wells
and warned the men under his charge to leave her alone.
Instead of feeling entitled to Boaz's kind treatment, "Ruth fell at
his feet and thanked him warmly. 'Why are you being so kind to me?' she
asked. 'I am only a foreigner.'
 'Yes, I know,' Boaz replied. 'But I also know about the love and
kindness you have shown your mother-in-law since the death of your husband.
I have heard how you left your father and mother and your own land to live
here among complete strangers.  May the Lord, the God of Israel, under
whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully.'" (Ruth 2:10-12
The kindness Ruth showed, boomeranged back to her, just like it had
with Roman Turski. In her attempt to save her Mother-in-law's life, she
saved her own.
But there's more. Naomi discovered that Boaz was a relative, and under
their laws, the near-kinsman was to take the place of a dead husband and
fulfill the family's responsibility to the widow. Naomi instructed Ruth
to go to Boaz's threshing floor and ask him to redeem her.
Boaz was flattered by the proposal, and was willing to become her husband,
but because he was an honorable man, he told Ruth that there was a relative
that was closer and had the right to redeem her first. Boaz gave her some
grain to take home to Naomi and promised to fulfill the obligation of the
kinsman-redeemer if the other relative refused to.
Boaz met the other relative at the city gate with 10 elders from the
city. He told him about Naomi's land and Ruth, and asked him if he wanted
to redeem her. After some reflection, the relative told Boaz to redeem
her himself; he passed on his rights.
Boaz was true to his word. Ruth went from being a nomadic beggar to
becoming a part of the family. And God blessed her with a son.
And here's where the story gets good.
Ruth died, knowing that God was faithful to her and that "in all things
God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according
to his purpose." What she never knew, though, was the extent of God's blessing.
She didn't know the name of her great grandson-King David. Neither would
she know, this side of heaven, that one of her descendants would be the
Savior of the World!
She knew God's grace through Boaz as her kinsman-redeemer, but would
not know that the results of that union would produce a kin that would
be the Redeemer of the world.
Our text says, "And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day
and night unto him, though he bear long with them?" Luke 18:7 From it we
learn that God will answer our prayers, but it doesn't tell us when, or
if we will ever know the full results of those prayers.
What does God say when people pray? Sometimes, he says "yes," even if
we never know He did.
Are you willing to do the most unselfish thing you can do? Like Roman
Turski who risked his life for a stranger, or Ruth who devoted her life
to her Mother-in-law, will you give yourself to the ministry of prayer?
Will you remain faithful, even if you never see the results of your work?