When His Answer Is No
Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.Dalai Lama
How many times have you prayed with all your might, hoping beyond hope that God would hear your prayer and answer you? Then one day passes… and another… and another, and still nothing! No answer… no hint… not even a glimmer that He ever heard your heartfelt plea! And you say to your self, “My minister says prayer is the answer. My minister says God hears all of our prayers, always! But He’s ignoring my prayer! Why don’t I matter to God? Is God even there?”
As much as we might hope for clarity, sometimes understanding why God does what He does and gives us what he gives… or doesn’t give… is confusing, even for the most devout believer. And even though we are seldom given an answer within a time frame that meets with our approval and understanding, we also tend to forget that sometimes no answer, or even an answer that is no, is still an answer! These are the times we must be content by remembering the words in Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:”
In human love, we join with another and the union of the two as they become one, bears new fruit….life! But who is it that created the very first life? Who is it that designed the body we live in so that we have a heart that beats seemingly without our even causing it to happen? Who gave us a mind to think and hope and dream? And who endowed us with a spirit to believe? All of these things were envisioned and molded and given life by one whose hand greater than that of any man. Isaiah 44:24 NIV says “This is what the Lord says; your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord, the Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by myself..” So then, why would we question the when, how or even if our prayers receive His attention? He knows what is best for us all and perhaps even more importantly, He know the things that are not good! And like any good parent guides the life and the decisions of their child, often without that child even realizing it, and usually without explanation for what it is we do, so does God do this for us. Just as we parents do not give a child all that they ask, so it is that God does not grant us all that we ask, as well!
God provides us with the clarity of mind to be able to reason most of the answers we need in order to live day to day. The rest He gives us at a time of His choosing, not ours. And only when we have done what we must to make ourselves right with Him and to live a life that honors Him by our obeying His commands to us. According to James 4:3 NIV, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” Until we are ready, we are like a petulant child….unreasonable, peevish and contemptuous. A child who insists to mom that he or she does not have to look both ways before crossing the street! But, like any good parent, we stop that child from crossing because we understand the potential for harm to befall one who acts rashly! Just as we act on our foreknowledge of what is best for our child, so He knows what it is we need and what is best for us, even before the words of our prayer escapes our lips. Think and remember the words from Isaiah 65:24 NIV: “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.”
A friend shared that she sometimes wishes the year began with February. You see, for her, January brings memories she wishes she could forget, including being diagnosed with Cancer and her father-in-law passing away from a sudden and unexpected heart attack. And as I thought about her words, I also realized that I sometimes associate January with heartbreak, as well. My mom passed away in January… more than 2 decades ago. So did a very close friend that my husband grew up with. And despite the fact that we prayed and prayed that our loved ones would be spared and healed, God’s answer was NO! To this day, we do not understand why it had to be this way. But perhaps we are thinking with the mind and heart of a human, which is why we do not understand His why’s and wherefore’s now! In fact, perhaps we will never understand His reasons while we live! But I am OK with that, because I am just as certain that we will understand one day, and that it will be the day we meet those we love but have lost, once more.
We hold you close within our hearts,
And there you will remain,
To walk with us throughout our lives
Until we meet again.
Our chain of love is broken now,
And nothing will be the same,
But as God calls us one by one,
The chain will link again.
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”
John 14:1-4 ESV
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