God Answers Us – In His Own Way!
God doesn’t always answer our prayers the way we expect him to…
I guess we have all had the experience of asking God for something – sometimes urgently, and sometimes over a period of time. I was just thinking about this the other day, and I realized that God always answers our prayers – it’s just that he answers them in his own way! A peek into the Bible revealed a couple of instances where he responded to requests with a ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘wait’ answer! Let’s take a look!
- Yes, but Not Now
Now Abraham was the father of faith, right? He believed in a God who nobody had ever heard of, and someone he had never seen! All through his life, however, he believed that God’s promise that he would be the father of a great nation would be fulfilled. At one point, however, Abraham asked God the following question.
Genesis 15:8 “But Abram replied, “O Sovereign Lord, how can I be sure that I will actually possess it?” (NLT)
Here is one of the many answers God gave him.
Genesis 17:4-6 “This is my covenant with you: I will make you the father of a multitude of nations! What’s more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations. I will make you extremely fruitful. Your descendants will become many nations, and kings will be among them!” (NLT)
Despite God’s promise that he would have numerous descendants, Abraham never got to see them. Abraham, however, believed that God would answer his prayers. In this case, Gods answer turned out to be YES, but NOT NOW.
Hebrews 11:8-9 “It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise.” (NLT)
Check out the following verses as well.
Hebrews 11:12-13 “And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them. All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.” (NLT)
My question to you is – would you still believe in God if he said YES, but NOT NOW?
In 2 Samuel chapter 11, David happened to notice a beautiful woman, Bathsheba. He went ahead to bring her to his palace where he slept with her. After a few weeks, Bathsheba discovered she was pregnant with David’s child. His next action was an attempt to cover up his sin. The first attempt was unsuccessful, and as a result, David was forced to have Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, killed on the battlefield. After Bathsheba’s mourning period for her husband was over, David brought her to the palace as his wife.
Now – remember that David was a man who diligently sought God. As such, the Lord was not pleased with his actions and sent Nathan the prophet to tell him so. After David confessed his sin, Nathan revealed that the little child that David and Bathsheba shared would die. Shortly after, the child fell ill. David was distraught and asked the Lord to spare him.
2 Samuel 2:15-16 “After Nathan returned to his home, the Lord sent a deadly illness to the child of David and Uriah’s wife. David begged God to spare the child. He went without food and lay all night on the bare ground.” (NLT)
Sadly, God’s answer to David’s petitions remained no. God did not change his mind, and the boy died on the seventh day.
Why did God permit the little boy’s death? Because David sinned. Note that David was one of the men who walked with God at the time, and so letting him get away with this sin was not an option. Instead, God allowed the boy to die, and David repented and renewed his relationship with the Lord.
2 Samuel 12:20 “Then David got up from the ground, washed himself, put on lotions, and changed his clothes. He went to the Tabernacle and worshiped the Lord. After that, he returned to the palace and was served food and ate.” (NLT)
This is a hard situation for anyone to go through, isn’t it? I wonder, though, would I accept the Lord’s will as readily as David did? Would I accept the NO answer when I so desperately wanted to hear YES?
- No – my perfect will must prevail
Luke 22:42 “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (NLT)
Jesus, facing imminent death for proclaiming that he was the Son of God, said these words as he prayed on the Mount of Olives. I can imagine that he knew what kind of death awaited him and he was dreading the pain and the horrible experience of being separated from his Father. He, however, knew that God’s will would be done, despite his petitions.
I found this lesson to be the hardest of the three I have highlighted today. There have been times I have prayed earnestly for certain things, and God has said NO, MY WILL MUST PREVAIL. Accepting such a decision is not easy! If we focus on the bigger picture – God’s perfect will for our lives, such decisions are so much easier to handle. If you have just experienced a ‘Gods will be done’ situation, therefore, take heart. God’s plan for you is way better than what you were praying for!
Dear friends – our relationship with God puts us in a place where we are able to accept whatever answers he has for us. He, however, needs us to believe that his purpose for us is best – better than what we had in mind!