June 30, 2107
This week at the camp we talked about the “Prayer of Jabez” every evening, and how God answered Jabez’s and gave him all he asked for. It’s an encouraging and inspiring story: A good man prays to God for something very specific and God gives him what he asks for. Nice!
But what about the times we ask for good things—-perhaps even very virtuous and proper things- in prayer and God does not approve the prayer or seems to ignore the petition altogether? This has bothered me all day. I know of a good person that was praying for a very, very noble and proper thing to happen, but he has been denied an answer—or the answer is “no”.
I personally have been praying for many years for the something quite appropriate and noble—a good and proper thing—-and either God is ignoring my prayer, telling me “no”, to telling me to wait. Honestly, I don’t know what to do or think at times when I struggle with unanswered prayers or a negative answer. I wonder why He does not answer me or seem to not care or appears to not be listening. My faith is challenged when I pray and pray and pray about something and nothing happens.
But……..perhaps He is listening. Perhaps, just maybe, He believes in me and is allowing me to suffer, lose some sleep, become a bit more humble, and experience some uncertainty about something I want for a purpose that I cannot immediately imagine or see. Maybe God does hear every prayer I make and is deliberately remaining quiet to allow me the time to realize that my prayer was inappropriate or that it’s best that He does not intervene for the time being.
The question is simply this: Do I trust Him? If I do, at the end of the day I can tell Him that, “I have done all I can do, I have prayed faithfully….it’s now in Your Hands-your will be done, I surrender.”
I would not be writing this blog, or serving at this camp, or be the man I am today if God had answered the prayer of a very righteous man many years ago. When a certain man, my personal hero, pleaded with God to protect him from an illegal attack, an undeserved punishment and a humiliating execution, God was silent. And when the same man was on a cross bleeding, suffocating and dying an incredibly unjust death, God was did not even answer Him when He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Are we not blessed and overcome with joy that God does not always answer our prayers? The Christian faith would not exist if God did everything we begged for. When God is silent or appears to say no, there is a reason. Trust in Him and let go……