Our all-powerful, all-loving God encourages us to ask Him for what we want. But sometimes, after we’ve put it out there, He seems to turn and walk in the opposite direction. We are left with questions: Why did He want us to pray if He was just going to say no, anyway? Were we praying “wrong” in the first place? What are we supposed to do now?
I have repeated this cycle multiple times. More than six years ago, I began experimenting heavily in drugs and became addicted. This resulted in losing everything that meant anything to me, my home, my children, my career, my car, my family and friends, you name it. It also resulted in my salvation and my freedom. I have always believed in God and Jesus, but never had I truly had a relationship with God nor had I ever read the Bible. For the last six 1/2 years, I asked God for restoration and to replenish my loss. He has done this but slowly but therefore during this time I have grown and grown even more with each passing day.
I must confess that during this last six years, I have confessed and repented of every sin I can think of, wept, protested and spent more than a few days crippled by despair.
WE TEND TO HAVE ONE OF TWO RESPONSES WHEN WHAT WE ASKED FOR IS NOT GIVEN IN A TIMELY FASHION: TRYING HARDER OR ANGRY BLAMING.
Apparently, I am not the only one who struggled because of unanswered prayer. I invited friends to fill in the blank on my Facebook wall: “Unanswered prayer … ” I received more than 40 responses, including the following: is deeply disappointing, makes me feel unloved, feels like a betrayal, is confusing, can be overwhelming, is business as usual.
Some of our bewilderment emerges because we actually believe that God is all powerful and that He not only wants us to come to Him like little children, but also encourages us to ask Him for everything, from babies to spouses to jobs to housing to help losing weight. Hence the disconnect when He doesn’t always give us what we want.
This paradox reminds me of my daughter’s attitude at Christmas. She starts composing her gift list in September, and for the next four months, she revised, added to and shamelessly shared it. Yet when Christmas day rolls around, she was filled with dread—because experience has shown her that though I am a good parent, I don’t always give her precisely what she requests. She has told me, “Why bother asking me if you aren’t going to buy me exactly what I want?” She’s a good kid, but just a typical teenager… wants everything now!
Isn’t this how we feel about our heavenly Father? We tend to have one of two responses when what we asked for is not given in a timely fashion: trying harder or angry blaming.
None of us can make ourselves worthy—that only comes as a gift from Jesus. Angry blaming similarly leads us into a dead-end. Remember God’s promises for His Word never returns void.