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If you’re like most people, you have lots of  WHY questions for God.

I have had them, too.

  • Why am I going through this situation?
  • Why did You let that happen?
  • Why didn’t You allow me to experience that blessing?

Although it is human nature to question and try to find the reasoning behind God’s ways, I truly believe most of our “why” questions result from ignorance about Who God is or a lack of faith in what He is doing.

After more than 30 years of discipling women, as well as seeing God work in my own life, I’ve come up with what I call “God’s Top 10 Answers to Our Why Questions.” They are not in any particular order. But they are all based on Scripture and what it tells us of God’s character. If He were to speak audibly perhaps His answers to your questions would be:

  1. Trust Me. I have My reasons. We don’t really like this answer, because we want God to explain Himself. We want to see the reasons and exercise our option to agree or disagree with God. Yet God points out in Isaiah 55:8-9:    “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts“ (ESV).  I can’t help but feel that this is God’s way of saying “Because I said so.” But like a loving parent, who may have said that to you when you were a child, He knows what He’s doing and Scripture says His ways are perfect (Psalm 18:30) and therefore He never makes mistakes.

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Do you ever feel like God isn’t answering your prayers?

I heard from a reader recently who asked “How long am I supposed to pray if God continues to ignore me?”

It might feel like God is ignoring you when He doesn’t answer your prayers immediately or in the way you’re hoping. But Scripture offers us insights as to why God might appear to be silent.

One verse that I’ve found most helpful in my own life – when it comes to unanswered prayer – is Psalm 84:11, in which the Psalmist said “No good thing will [God] withhold from those who walk uprightly.” I find three principles (and loads of encouragement) in this verse for why God might not be answering my prayer or yours.

  1. God’s idea of a “good thing” might be different than yours. You might be praying for a husband, a job you’ve been hoping for, or to win the lottery. Why would God not give you any or all of the three? Because even though you might feel it’s good for you to be married, or to be working in a job you like, or to have more money, God’s opinion might differ. Just because something makes us happy doesn’t mean it’s good for us, eternally. And God has our eternal best in mind.

 In Matthew 7:11 Jesus said:

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?”

We want our children to be happy, but not at the expense of their health, and therefore we don’t give them candy at every meal. We want them to hold down a good job, but we won’t do that job for them because learning responsibility and the consequences of a bad decision are more healthy and good for them in the long run. Trust that God, your Heavenly Father, knows what is best for you. And while you may be heartbroken at His “no,” He may very well be sparing you a bigger heartache down the road.

  1. God is waiting for you to be obedient. Scripture exhorts husbands to be considerate of their wives and treat them with respect so that their prayers aren’t hindered (1 Peter 3:7). And Psalm 84:11 says “no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Are you walking uprightly? Is your life not only obedient, but surrendered to Him? If not, God may be withholding or refusing to acknowledge your prayers to get you back into line with His will and purposes.
  1. It isn’t the right time. God has three answers. Yes, no, and wait. Because He can see what’s eternally best for us, and He can also see what’s coming down the road (and we can’t), trust His judgment. Don’t second guess Him. His timing is always better than yours. If you are walking uprightly and what you’re asking for is truly a good thing then, according to Psalm 84:11, God is not withholding after all. It just isn’t time.
  1. You aren’t asking in faith. How we pray is just as important as what we pray for. In  James 1:5-8 we are told:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”

Furthermore, Hebrews 11:6 says,

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

So ask in faith and without hesitation or doubting. God may be waiting for you to truly believe He can do what you are asking for.

  1. God has something better for you than what you are asking for. This is my favorite reason for why God says “no” but we so often forget to consider it. Because He is good and knows what’s eternally best for us, and doesn’t want us to settle, God sometimes says no or closes a door because He has something better for us that we haven’t even thought to ask for. He is One who can do “immeasurably more” than all we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Trust His timing. Trust His “no.” And trust His idea of what is eternally best for you. He really is a good father.

Do you believe that?

“Where is God when it hurts?” “Doesn’t He care?” “Why would He let this happen?”

Those are questions I often hear from women who are in the midst of suffering. A betrayal, an illness or injury, a devastating disappointment — they can all make us feel that God has been negligent.

And I understand.

It’s easy to believe that God doesn’t care about us when we’re experiencing pain.   But a closer examination of Scripture tells us that God is intimately acquainted with the events of our lives. In fact, in many situations in my life and in the lives of women I know, He is the One who has protected and comforted, in spite of the pain we have endured.

If you are believing right now that God wasn’t there or didn’t care about you (or you know someone who is feeling that way right now) consider these truths from Psalm 139:

  • God intimately examines you, not to find your faults, but to know all about you (verse 1).
  • He knows where you hang out, what time you get up in the morning, and what you’re thinking before the thought even comes your way. Not only are you noticed, you are constantly watched over (verse 2).
  • He familiarizes Himself with everything you do. He is not only familiar with your ways of doing things, He has them memorized (verse 3).
  • He knows what you’re going to say before you even say it (verse 4).
  • He places hedges around you to keep you safe. In other words, God hovers over you (verse 5).
  • He won’t let you wander out of His sight. He is aware of everywhere you go. And He sticks to you like glue (verses 7-12).

God is there. He is aware. And He does care.  And if He’s allowed something painful in your life, He has a reason. And He promises that reason is for something eternally good that you might not see this side of heaven (Romans 8:28-29).

Think about something painful that has happened in your life and something good that you now have because of it. As you do, you may find yourself saying, “Aha. God was there. He does care. And He is still working His plan in my life.”

I would love to hear from you in the comment section below about where you found God in your painful situation …and what blessings are now yours because you have gone through that pain. And if you’re still in that place of hurt, let me know how I can pray for you and help shoulder that load.

 

sadgirlDo you ever feel like your pastor is blowing you off?

Maybe you just feel like he doesn’t greet you or treat you as you expected.

That was the case with “Anne” who emailed me her question:  “What should I do if I think my pastor doesn’t like me?”

Anne says she often has an “overwhelming feeling whenever my pastor greets me that he’s pasting on a smile. I can sometimes see him dig deep for it, too. Ive seen him turn away in hopes there was someone else to speak to and then, finding no one else, dig deep for that fake smile and turn back to me. It hurts.”

I ran Anne’s dilemma by my husband, a former pastor of 20 years, and he had some great insights that can help us understand pastors and how to better deal with the situation if you feel your pastor is blowing you off.

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broken heart representing a husband who cheatsWhat does a wife do when her husband cheats?

That was the most frequently asked question I received last week since starting my new blog series on “Questions Women Ask.”

One woman emailed: “My husband loves me, he just loves her, too. He says the affair is over and I just need to get over it.”

Another woman who confronted her husband about an extra-marital relationship said “He said he was sorry and looked like he meant it but how can I believe him? I feel so insecure. I fear he might do it again. Should I stay or should I leave?”

And a woman who is seeking God’s will above her own says “”What if the man in question is your husband of 29 years and the father of your 3 children?  And he has been in a relationship with another woman for 10 years?”

My heart breaks that so many women are struggling with whether or not to stay in a marriage after betrayal. They shouldn’t have to make that decision. But betrayal has forced them into the question of God’s will for their heart and marriage. Scripture is clear that divorce was never God’s desire for His people (Malachi 2:16; Matthew 19:8), so it is imperative that we must take it before God carefully and prayerfully.

Marriage is defined by God as a “one flesh” union between one man and one woman, expressed through a commitment to forsake all others and cling to each other for a lifetime (Genesis 2:24). When one member of the marriage party brings another person into that “one flesh” union the marriage, as God has defined it, ceases to exist. The bond has been broken, and the union severed.

However, it does not mean it is beyond hope.

If you have been betrayed — or you know someone who has — and must decide whether to stay in the marriage or not, here are three points to consider that will prayerfully lead you toward God’s peace:

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Are you ready for 4  more things you never have to worry about?

I asked you last week to let me know what keeps you awake at  night and, based on your responses (and what I know of God’s trustworthy Word) here is another list of 4 things God can control a lot better than you and I can:

1. You never need to worry about being ignorant or relying on your own thinking. God’s wisdom is there for the askingJames 1:5-6 says:

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind (NLT).

So,  ask God for wisdom and ask for it by faith in Him alone. And as you apply Proverbs 3:5-6, He will straighten the way for you:

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If God is saying “no” to your prayers for a child, I can understand if Mother’s Day hurts.

I remember the hurt and confusion I felt many years ago as I was asking God for a second child. Although I didn’t understand why He was withholding a baby from me — while many women around me seemed to be getting pregnant whether they wanted to or not — God had His reasons and His purposes, that I have realized through the years.*

While my first reaction was to question God, I now realize there was wisdom in His withholding.

While your discovery of His reasons and purposes might still be down the road for you, let me encourage your heart with these three truths:read more

question_markDo you ever find yourself questioning God?

Why now, God? Couldn’t You have waited another week or so?

Why her, Lord? Couldn’t you have let it happen to someone else?

Why this, God? Couldn’t you have gotten my attention in some other way?

I found myself questioning God when something my husband and I had hoped for didn’t turn out the way we had expected or prayed. And God’s answer, from His Word, reminded me again Who is in control:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts.

Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than   your ways,

and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9, NASB).

That was God’s gentle way of telling me that He has a bigger picture that is above and beyond anything that I can see right now. And so I am asked to trust Him.

God sees our entire story in the spiritual realm that we can’t yet comprehend. He has reasons that are far above our own because He is God and we are not. And we are asked to simply trust…

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GSTquote10Are you wondering why God won’t answer a particular prayer of yours?

A question I’ve been hearing a lot lately is “Why pray? It seems futile. God isn’t doing anything about it.”

My how we hate the silence, and yet God does some of His best work in the quiet.

If you’ve been asking God to bless a certain area of your life, or you’re just feeling that He doesn’t hear you or doesn’t answer, let me offer you three things to think about:

1) God is under no obligation to bless anything that is not surrendered to Him.

We get the idea that because we pray, God is obligated to answer. Yes, God is good. Yes, He is loving. But His promises and blessings are to those who are obedient to Him (Psalm 5:12). We must be careful we don’t confuse God’s unconditional love with unconditional blessing. God makes it very clear throughout Scripture that there are requirements for His blessings (Psalm 1; 2 Corinthians 1:20):

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blog quote - husbandIt’s probably the one question I hear women ask more than any other. It is likely the biggest area of frustration for a large percentage of my readers. And it is definitely one of the most difficult questions for me to answer.

The question is “When will God give me a husband?”

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prayer-on-my-knees4I’m a firm believer that God knows exactly what He’s doing when He says “no” to our prayers, when He seems to wait before answering our prayers, or when it seems He isn’t listening at all.

Psalm 145:8-9 says: The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.”

That tells me that His graciousness, compassion, and love are at work — even in unanswered prayer. So here are seven reasons to thank God even when you’re not getting an answer – yet:

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Admit it, there are parts of the Bible that are difficult to digest. Certain girlreadingbiblewords sting and can cause us to question our faith. I came across some of them as I was writing my book, When God Sees Your Tears.

In the Old Testament story of Hannah, I found staring at me, like a dagger, seven words about why Hannah could not conceive a child: because the Lord had closed her womb. Those seven words explain, but don’t really explain, Hannah’s misery. And within those seven disturbing words are four words that explain — or don’t really explain — the troubles we experience today, too: because the Lord had.

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You, too, may have heard it all your life. God is in complete control of everything.

But, oh how that rubs when the crud of life comes your way.

What do you tell a young woman who is pregnant with her first child when her husband of less than a year abandons her?

What do you tell the wife of a pastor who is shot dead on his church campus while serving the needs of his congregation on his day off?

What do you say to the woman who has served God all her life but now fights a fatal cancer that is eating away at her bones?

All three of those women talked with me recently about their unanswered questions. All three of them today have an intimacy with God that I long for. And all three of them are leaving a legacy…not just in their life but in the lives of others. They are proof of what happens when God sees your tears.

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Do you ever feel that God is ignoring you?woman-praying

I’ve had quite a few emails lately from women asking me why God isn’t listening, or why He refuses to answer their prayers.  Not knowing any background on those people asking the questions — or even what the requests were — I thought I should address this topic on “Why Isn’t God Answering My Prayer?”

In Scripture, God set some parameters around prayer that we tend to forget about.  And I think if we ask ourselves three questions, we can determine if we are within those parameters and if we can expect an answer to our prayers.

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woman-contemplatingWe all know of people who claim to be followers of Christ but don’t seem to live it. And you’re not alone if you have ever questioned your own salvation, too.

A woman recently wrote me about a history of abuse in a family that is “Christian.” Her question was: “How can one who is a Christian continue a cycle of sin?” I believe the question that needs to be answered, however, is “What defines a ‘Christian’?”

 

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blog-sad silhouetteDo you ever wonder if you and your family members are susceptible to certain sins because they seem to repeat themselves in your family history?

Jeanette wrote me and said: My husband verbally abused his oldest daughter. His father abused his older daughter as well. My ex husband and my former father in law are Christians and both became Christians while very young, so they abused even as Christians. Our daughter became a Christian while very young, but at 16, walked away from Christ. Is this (verbal abuse) hereditary? Is our son going to do this to his oldest daughter?”

Jeanette’s question is a valid one. A history of sinful behavior can certainly look like it’s hereditary or ingrained in us because of the patterns we see while growing up. And it can cause us to be fearful for our future, or that of our children’s. But, let me say it for the record (and then I’ll explain): Sin for an unbeliever is natural. Sin for a follower of Christ is a choice.

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In my weekly bloheartbreakg series on “Answering Life’s Tough Questions,” Charity asked: How do you let go of the fear and begin to trust again when you still feel so nervous after he cheated? I’ve reconciled with him and I love him but things just aren’t the same.”

Assuming this question is in the context of marriage, I applaud you, Charity, for reconciling. God expects us to freely forgive (as you have done) just as He has freely forgiven us. But God does not command us to trust immediately after being betrayed. Perhaps God knew that would be something we would have to ease back into, after the one who betrayed us has earned our trust again.

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Do you ever wonder about your purpose, especially when life is not going according to plan?Purpose Sign

Jeannette emailed me recently and said:  I would like to know what is the purpose of my life when I’m disabled, single, can’t work, can’t drive and am 50 years old.

Our purpose in life can be a mystery if we are equating it with happiness or fulfillment, or thinking of it in terms of work, productivity, or a career.

Our purpose does not always equal “the life we’ve always wanted.” Nor does it automatically mean “happiness” or even “fulfillment.” However, there IS a sense of joy and fulfillment that comes from knowing we are living out God’s intended purpose for us.

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