Okay, how many of you wanted to be some sort of detective when you were growing up? Yep, me too. I think a lot of it stems from my desire to put the pieces of a puzzle together. But much more of it comes from my desire to see justice done. I want to know that in the end, right prevails.
So it’s this detective in me that has me watching these real-life crime shows on t.v. I love to see, at the end of the hour, that the truth has been revealed and justice is served.
But in real life, the answers to prayers don’t usually come in the span of 60 minutes. And people don’t always have assurance that, in the end, their prayers will be answered at all. But I want to try to give you some hope that your prayers are heard, and ultimately, they will be answered, in God’s timing and in His way.
I was watching one of these crime shows not that long ago, that was from a behind-the-scenes perspective. It focused on one of the lead detectives in the story of the so-called Green River Killer.
The murders began in the summer of 1982 and Dave Reichert was one of the lead detectives in the task force that was set up to find the killer of the continually mounting numbers of people. By 1984, police suspected that the same person had killed 42 young women. Years went by and families were demanding answers but were receiving none. And by 1991, the task force that was once 50 people strong, now was left with only one person, Detective Tom Jensen, with Dave Reichert having been elected sheriff. The investigation had cost $15 million. There was little hope that there would ever be any answers.
The loved ones of those killed accused Sheriff Reichert and his team of not putting in enough effort to find the killer. That maybe if their loved ones hadn’t been prostitutes, if they had been more respected members of the community, they would have some answers by now.
What the families didn’t realize was the enormous mental and emotional toll the investigation took on Dave Reichert. When he was at home, he had a hard time just being with his own family because of the overwhelming desire to find the suspect and bring justice to the community.
Hang in there with me, I am going somewhere with this.
How many times have we sought the Lord in fervent prayer on a painful issue, only to watch year after year go by with no answers? Have we ever accused God of not caring about us or about our circumstances? Do we wonder if He even hears us? God tells us in His Word that He does.
"…for He hears the cry of the afflicted." Job 34:28b
"But know that Jehovah has set apart the godly for Himself. Jehovah hears when I call to Him." Psalm 4:3
"The righteous cry, and Jehovah hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. Jehovah is near to the broken-hearted; and saves those who are of a contrite spirit." Psalm 34:17-18
"I love Jehovah because He hears my voice and my prayers. Because He has bowed down His ear to me, therefore I will call on Him in my days." Psalm 116:1-2
"And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him." 1 John 5:14-15
Sometimes our preconceived ideas or expectations of how a prayer will be or should be answered can cause us to be disappointed when those expectations aren’t met. But God never tells us when He will answer our prayers or how He will answer, just that, if we are His, He will answer. Answers come in many forms and sometimes they just don’t come the way we want them to or when we want them to be answered.
But because we don’t see an answer right away doesn’t mean that God isn’t working on it.
The trials in our lives are not for us alone. God is busy weaving a deeper faith, more patience, and a more profound love into the hearts of many lives through each trial. He waits patiently as He molds souls into the image of His Son. And one day, when His purpose has been fulfilled, He will answer. Some answers come swiftly, some will not be revealed until the day we stand before our Savior in heaven.
Sheriff Reichert and Detective Jensen did eventually catch the Green River Killer, of course, and 21 years after the killings began, prayers were finally answered when Gary Ridgway was convicted of murdering 48 women.
God hears you and He is compassionate toward your suffering. And though the reasons for His waiting are unknown to us, we can know that we serve a good and faithful and loving God. Keep trusting Him, knowing that He will never leave you nor forsake you.