Are you asking God for something and you feel He hasn’t come through?
Weekly I receive emails from women who have consistently asked God for a husband and still they don’t have one. Others have hoped and prayed for a job yet remain unemployed. Maybe you are trying to be faithful yet it’s difficult for you to believe Scripture that God is always faithful and good and loving.
Many times we perceive God’s withholding as punishment, or we assume He is ignoring us. Sometimes we heap guilt upon ourselves and think “Why would God give me anything anyway?” Last month I gave you three things to do when God doesn’t answer your prayers. This week I want to give you four ways to remain faithful even if you think God isn’t during this time:
- Realize God May be Protecting You from What You Can’t Yet See.
God’s “no” could mean the timing of your request isn’t right or the opportunity isn’t His very best for you. I see that principle in the life of Hannah whose story in the first three chapters of First Samuel show us that when God appeared to be saying “no” to Hannah’s request for a son, He was really preparing her (and her future son) for something far greater than she had imagined. Hannah was simply asking God for a baby. God wanted to give her not just a baby but a son who would grow up to be Israel’s greatest prophet and priest – a man who would change the heart of a nation, all in God’s perfect timing.
God’s “no” might really be a “not yet.” Or it might be a “Wait, I have something far better for you that you haven’t even thought to ask for.” In either case, His no is protecting you from something you can’t yet see, or preparing you for something far better. You didn’t get the loan? God knows what is coming down the road financially and maybe you wouldn’t have been able to make the payments. You weren’t healed of a diagnosis? Perhaps God knows your continued dependence on Him will keep you in a healthier place, spiritually. You didn’t get that job you thought was perfect for you? God knows far more than you do what is on the other side of that job. Psalm 18:30 says all God’s ways are perfect. Trust His protection – and His perfection – when it comes to what He allows and doesn’t allow.
2. Record Your Blessings.
It’s easy to keep track of when God doesn’t answer our prayers. But can you compare that to a longer list of the prayer requests and blessings He has already granted? It helps me to keep my perspective when I write down my prayer requests, as well as God’s continued blessings – even the ones I don’t ask for. In fact, everything I pray for I write down and when I record His answers with a date I am able to look back and see that He answered “yes” to far more prayers than He didn’t. Some of my prayers aren’t yet resolved. So my answer might be “not yet” or “not in this way.”
As you keep record of God’s blessings, the times He has answered and the times He has given without you even having to ask, it will put you into proper perspective when it comes to God’s answers to prayer and remind you that He is still good even though He’s not giving you what you want at the moment. It will also remind you of the truth of Lamentations 3:25: “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him” (NASB).
3. Rejoice in the answered prayers of others.
Sometimes it’s easy to become jealous or even resentful when we see others experiencing answers to their prayers, especially when they’re praying for the same thing we are and they receive it and we don’t (like a spouse, a baby, a job, or a promotion). But their situations are different. God sees each of our situations individually. He also sees what is eternally best for us, not just temporarily. Remember Jesus’s words in Matthew 7:11: “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (ESV). Trust that promise of His. As you rejoice with others who have experienced answered prayer, God will see your mature and grateful heart and perhaps decide to trust you with your blessing, after all, (or, as mentioned earlier, something far better).
4. Remain faithful.
I receive many emails from readers who tell me they have stopped praying because “God doesn’t listen to my prayers” or “It doesn’t do any good” or “What’s the difference? He hasn’t answered my request for years.” I can’t help but think that’s an immature and even selfish way to respond to the Almighty Creator God who has given us far more than we could ever deserve. God owes us nothing. Yet He so freely and generously gave us His Son. Romans 8:32 assures us, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (ESV). Do you want to give that kind of generous and loving God an attitude of entitlement or worse yet, retaliation? God wants relationship with you more than He wants your list of requests. He wants you to be satisfied in Him not what you get from Him. He wants you to quit seeking answers and start seeing Him as The Answer.
Jesus told a parable in Luke 18:1-8 of a widow who pestered an unrighteous judge with her repeated request for justice to the point that he gave her what she wanted just to keep her quiet. Then Jesus drew the parallel and pointed out how much more our loving Heavenly Father who is righteous will give justice to those who continually plead with Him their case. Remain faithful. Don’t stop praying. Seek Him, instead of what you want from Him. It might make all the difference in what you’re asking for and you might even soon find you already have – in Him – all you could ever want.
Finally, be encouraged with this promise in Psalm 84:11: “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly” (ESV). Look at that verse again closely. If you are walking uprightly and asking God for a good thing and He is still withholding, your request either isn’t really good for you – or it isn’t time.