What do we do when God says, “no?” What do we do when the price faith demands is our life, or the life of someone we love? We see tragedy around the globe every day, but inevitably, there comes a time when tragedy hits home. It’s human nature to want it fixed. We want what we long for restored, and thankfully, we believe in a God who has every capability of doing just that. We know He has and can perform miracles. Most of us know someone or have ourselves been on the receiving end of one or many miracles. Knowing God isn’t bound by the laws of nature and physics and what is explainable, is incredible. It can also be incredibly confusing and frustrating. We can’t raise men from the dead, but God can. We can’t heal every sickness and injury, feed every mouth, and free every slave, but God can. What about when He won’t? What about when He says, “no”? What about when we don’t know if He is saying “no” or “wait”? I don’t believe any prayer goes unanswered, but sometimes the answer isn’t the one we understand or desire.
It’s easy to trust God’s goodness and plan when things are making sense and we aren’t suffering. It’s a much harder thing to trust when we are in the midst of chaos, grief, loneliness, or deprived of comfort. Trusting God’s plan when the answer is “wait” or “no” is much more difficult. We have all prayed for things we have not seen come to fruition, but that doesn’t mean the prayer has gone unrecognized. God hears every prayer, and He answers with a love we can barely begin to grasp. He answers not just as a father, but a perfect Father.
Proverbs 15: 29, “The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.”
I answer my children’s requests with concern, consideration, and ultimately love. My sixteen-year-old son wants a motorcycle. I say, “Wait. You need to learn excellent driving skills in an enclosed vehicle before you take on a motorcycle. It’s not wisdom yet.” My fourteen-year-old son wants to walk to the gas station by himself to get a soda when it’s dark out. I tell him, “No. You can’t do that by yourself. You have to have someone else go with you.” My twelve-year-old daughter wants to eat corn dogs a half hour before dinner. I tell her, “No, wait. I have a healthier dinner for you coming, but you have to be patient.” All of these answers are based on a much broader picture that I see as a parent. It’s based on experience, wisdom, and seeing a value in granting a request with an answer that will be in their best interest. They don’t like it and I understand. Praying for something I want sometimes feels this way; but it comforts me to know that my Father who is listening, is fully invested in my soul’s best interest. It is the very key that allows me to fully trust Him with the answer to my prayers.
Mathew 21:22, “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”
I have asked probably millions of time to be healed. I’ve had incredible blessings and even miracles, but full physical healing hasn’t happened yet. For me to trust Him when I’m in agony, has everything to do with knowing the heart of God. I may not be able to comprehend His thoughts, but I stake my trust in the foundation of His love and His judgement. Having endured twenty-three surgeries in the last nine years has caused me immense suffering at times. My body hurts every single day, and I must constantly accommodate my handicaps. It’s frustrating and not what I would have chosen. However, if given the choice to be physically whole but to be deprived of the lessons and spiritual experiences this journey has brought, I would choose this difficult road again. My soul needed this road, and God knew that. He knew I needed it more than I needed physical comfort. I trust that. I don’t believe God wanted this suffering for me, but I do think He allowed it. He prioritized my spiritual growth over staving off physical tragedy. This life was never about making sure I was comfortable. It’s always been about making a decision about whether I wanted a close personal relationship with Him, and making that my number one priority. I want to go to Heaven more than I want to feel good on earth. I have reason to believe God will heal me.
In 2012, God spoke to my son in a dream. He was eight years old at the time, and is now sixteen. God told him, “I will heal your mom, but you will have to be patient. It’s going to take a long time.” Seven years later, I’m doing better but I am not healed. I don’t think it means it won’t or can’t happen. I think it means I have to trust Him and be patient, and know that He is good and loving. If He hasn’t done it yet, it’s not yet in my spiritual best interest.
I have to ask myself if my love for God is enough to make me willing to give everything I have and want, because that may be the price. It is the price Jesus paid for me. He lived in righteousness, and gave His life for me. Am I also willing to dedicate my whole life back to Him as an offering? God desires that we love Him, obey, trust, and honor Him with our lives. If we do that, He will always answer our prayers with our spiritual best interest in mind. That is the promise and love of our Father. There is no safer and trustworthy place to lay our pleas, but at the feet of the one who loves us the most. Keep praying.