What's the answer?

Have you  ever felt like God didn't answer your prayers?  Well, I have!  Those feelings are not accurate, though.  God answers all prayers of His children.  (Not so for those that don't belong to Him, but that's a subject for another post).

He always answers....but the answer isn't always "yes".  Sometimes He says "yes", sometimes He says "no", and sometimes He says..."wait."  But He always answers.

Let's talk for a minute about how we handle those "no" and "wait" answers.  Both of those can be difficult. 

When God is saying "wait" or "not now", it can feel like He is saying nothing.  That makes us wonder if He's not listening or doesn't care or "maybe this prayer stuff just doesn't work for me".  I understand.  In those times of not seeing God's answers, I find it so very helpful to focus on His attributes.  Like we are told in Philippians to set our minds on what is TRUE.  Not what might be true or could be true or what feels true.  What IS true. And the truth is that God is always good, always faithful, always loving, always sovereign, and always at work on our behalf in a thousand ways that we cannot see.  His Word is true-er than our circumstances.  Always.  He calls us to walk by faith, not by sight.  That means trusting in who He is, not what I can see, or especially not what I think I see!  When I am tempted to be discouraged or frustrated at the apparent lack of His answer, I remind myself to persevere.  His Word is very clear that we are to be persistent in our prayers. Keep on asking, knowing that in due time, He will answer.  There are times we need to strengthen those spiritual muscles, break out in a little prayerful sweat, and purpose not to give up.  In those times, I believe He sends His angels to encourage us, to minister to us....to infuse hope and endurance.  Just like Mary and Martha experienced when their brother Lazarus had died.  It surely felt and seemed and looked like God had ignored them.  But then Jesus showed up.  On time....even though it looked like He was four days late.  I haven't had the experience of seeing one who was dead walk out of the tomb but I can personally attest to the TRUTH that God answers prayer.  And He rewards our persistence.

If you are in a "wait" time, right now, don't give up.  Keep praying.  You very well might be just about to see God do something beyond your wildest expectations.  He's like that!

What about the times God says "no"?  Even as I type this, tears are welling up, recalling times He has said that to me or to people I love.  And the cry of "why" either screamed through every fiber of my being...or got stuck in my throat in an attempt to deny the pain.  I wish I had a 3 point message that would answer our questions and resolve the anguish.  I don't.  And I don't think there is one, in spite of what some people say.  I don't know the "why" but I do know the "Who".  And He is with us.  Supporting.  Sustaining.  Comforting. 

I know that One Day, the answers to the "whys" will be there.  Some things are explained in this life but a whole lot will be left to be revealed in Eternity.  Until then, may we draw strength from the Truth of Who He is.  Love.  Wisdom.  Power.  Understanding. Compassion. Holy.

In times of "no", I always think about a time when my husband made a decision for our family to move from North Carolina to Georgia.  Our children could not understand why we would leave a place where we were so happy, where their friends were, where their entire lives were anchored.  As parents, we were unable to explain to our sobbing 7 year old that this was a good thing, that God had directed us to leave, that this move would also provide happiness and new friends and all that she thought she was leaving.  Then, in a moment only orchestrated by God, our  10 year old said through her quiet tears, "Mary, Mary.  Don't you know Daddy loves us?  And he would never do anything that wasn't best for all of us".
God spoke  to me in that moment.  In the whisper of my daughter, He strongly explained that  I would face times when I was sobbing in His arms about decisions He had made on my behalf.  And in those times, He wanted me to know that He loves me.  And He will never do anything that wasn't best for all of us.

If He is telling you "no" right now, I fervently pray that you will feel the assurance of His love.  And in the goodness of His plan.

Keep praying.