Most people even in the UK can remember where they were and what they were doing when the twin towers were attacked on 9/11. We all watched our screens in total horror and disbelief at the smouldering rubble.
I wonder how Abraham felt as he looked over towards Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19 v 27 – 29). I guess it must have been something similar. How could he have known that Lot’s family had escaped? There is no further mention of his nephew through the rest of Genesis, so we do not know if Abraham was ever aware of Lot’s survival.
Nevertheless verse 29 is very revealing. “So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.”
God had answered Abraham’s prayer. Lot’s survival was wholly due to his uncle’s intercession. And for all we know, Abraham never knew it. He almost certainly had no knowledge of it that morning as he looked out across to the devastated remains of the two cities.
So when we pray, and we don’t see the results, we need to take heart. If we have earnestly talked to God about a situation, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we have to leave the outcome in his capable hands. We have to trust that God has worked things out for good, regardless of what we see with our eyes.
There were many stories of people who miraculously escaped from the twin towers, but also there were a great many sad losses. We cannot understand why some people escaped and others did not. In some cases, their survival may have been the result of someone somewhere praying, like Abraham for Lot; but the Christian life is just not that tidy, and there are many things we will never understand in this world.
So what can we do? Pray. Believe that God answers even if we don’t see the result. Trust that he knows what he is doing. And sometimes we are blessed with seeing the results. But never, never give up praying.