There’s a reason why magicians and illusionists are pretty much permanent features of the entertainment circuit. When David Copperfield and Penn & Teller retire from their Las Vegas theaters, others will take their place.
People love magicians because they want to believe in magic. We all have a driving inner fantasy that the right person with the right powers can just do some abracadabra and “Poof!” Our problems are fixed. The Bible stories of God’s instantaneous miracles are popular in every Sunday school. Who can resist the stories of miraculous wine, bread, fish, and healing?
I suspect that’s the kind of solution a lot of Christians have in mind when they bring their troubles to the Lord in prayer. Sometimes God does intervene with a physics-defying act of power. But it seems to be his considerable preference to work more quietly than that—sending key people into our lives.
St. Paul’s prayers at a desperate time were answered in this way: “When we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus” (2 Corinthians 7:5,6). At first Paul may have thought, “What? God, I asked for you! This is all you’ve got?” But he was perceptive enough to see shortly that Titus’ unique gifts and capabilities were exactly what he needed at that time.
Look around you. Your gaze has probably landed on some of God’s answers to your prayers.