This post is by Jen Stanbro.
It fairly breaks my heart when I hear someone say, “God didn’t answer my prayer.”
It makes me feel as though God is a parent who gives His beloved the silent treatment in response to our cries to Him. It suggests that He’s a God who’s not intimately involved in the big and small matters of our lives. That doesn’t sound anything like the God I know.
My God’s Word says things like, “On the day I called you, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased,”(Psalm 138:3) and “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart,” (Jeremiah 29:13). What about, “For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened,” (Matthew 7:8), or, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him, and He will act,” (Psalm 37:4-5). In my own walk with the Lord, I have only ever found these scriptures to be true.
Of course, I’m not asserting that anyone will get everything they want when they want it. And how self-centered, short-sighted, and weak-minded is that pursuit anyway? What I am suggesting is a paradigm shift — that perhaps sometimes we miss God’s answers, but in fact, the God who sees from the ultimate vantage point, who is goodness incarnate, who loves us dearly and fiercely — always answers the prayers of His children. Every single one of them.
I believe the problem may lie in our need to see our version of His answer, namely, getting the thing we’re asking for. Consider children. They ask for something they want or often times think they need. Sometimes they get a ‘yes,’ sometimes a ‘no,’ and sometimes, everyone’s favorite answer (which feels like a ‘no’ at first) — ‘wait.’
Yet in every answer, a parent’s love for them is steadfast. ‘No,’ and ‘wait’ are just as important for a child’s good as ‘yes.’ But from their limited perspective and understanding, they may not feel the love behind every answer. As a mom, I’m regularly explaining my heart behind the answers I give to my kids, particularly the ones they like less. But sometimes I have to ask them to simply and truly trust that I love them, and trust that I’m using a whole bunch of knowledge and experience that they don’t have yet to make the decisions I make for their good. I want to prepare them for that type of relationship with God. We’ll never have it all figured out. We’ll never fully grasp the immensity of love and wisdom behind the answers He gives, and that’s ok.
Over the past 20 or so years since I began seeing God’s relationship with me through this lens, I have found His answers each and every time. Sometimes, it has spanned years before I realize His ‘no,’ was in fact a ‘wait,’ and I marvel at His good timing.
I believe the key to receiving has always been rooted in my times alone with Him. Being alone with God every day has opened my spiritual eyes and ears to behold His answers. One of my favorite outcomes of time spent with the Lord is that He aligns my heart and my will to His own. As the desires of my heart shift to match His desires for me and for those I’m interceding for, I notice the treasures in every answered prayer. I rejoice with gratitude in His ‘yes,’ but I also notice the miracles in His ,”no,” and the profound blessings in His, “wait,” too.
What are you believing for right now? Ask the Lord to give you eyes to see His loving answers. If it feels like He’s asking you to wait, ask Him to empower you to wait in trust and faith, rather than fear and anxiety. You are more loved than you know!
Jen Stanbro is the singer/songwriter behind the Hello Mornings podcast theme song, “God Day.” She loves to hear truth cancel out the lies and see love overcome fear. Her heart aches for the oppressed and marginalized, and she seeks to reignite God’s holy fire in the hearts of His people to love courageously like Jesus.
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