"Sometimes the Answer is No."
Parents, have you ever said that to your kids?
Your child makes a request. “Can I go to Joey‘s house?”
“We can’t do that right now.”
“Stop whining. Sometimes the answer is no.”
And then we get frustrated when we ask our heavenly Father for something, and He says no.
Last Sunday we discussed prayer. Prayer moves the hand of God, and we should pray big things. God is never going to be intimidated by a prayer request. And knowing that He is powerful and He loves us certainly gives us plenty of reason to pray.
The burning question, though, we addressed briefly, is this one: “Why doesn‘t He answer sometimes?” Sometimes you pray and pray and fast and pray and fast - and there seems to be no answer. Or the situation even takes a bad turn. The cancer gets worse, the money gets tighter, the marriage is even more strained, the kid are even more rebellious…
This is by no means contradictory to what I said in the sermon or a detraction from Sunday. This is just a reminder. Well, 2 reminders:
- God is not a vending machine. Prayer is not pressing B5 and getting a Snickers bar. I have seen people’s “faith” shattered because God didn’t give them exactly what they wanted when they thought they should have it, AKA immediately. It's a shame when your "god" is given zero latitude to say no because you have convinced yourself you know what is best.
- God is, however, the most loving and perfect Father ever. He loves us. And He wants to hear from us, and He wants to bless us - but His knowledge is infinitely greater than ours, so His answer may look different than the one you were looking for. But He still answers. And His answer is always better than what we were asking for anyways. It’s like asking for God to remove a thorn, but instead He gives you His strength. 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 says something about that.
Sometimes God doesn’t take away the adversity because He intends to reveal Himself to you through it. And I promise you, looking back on this life from the perspective of heaven, you will fondly recall as your favorite memories of earth the times God’s answer to your distress was His presence.
p.s. - Thanks God for unanswered prayers, just like Garth Brooks