What are you supposed to do when God doesn’t answer your prayer?
When you’ve been praying and praying about something, and yet God hasn’t answered, maybe it’s just not the right time for what you’re praying for. A friend of mine who had been waiting and waiting to hear about a job he had applied for finally thought God wasn’t hearing his prayers, so I asked him, “Do you think maybe the timing’s not right?” Perhaps God was working behind the scenes…and indeed He was. Two weeks later, my friend applied for another job and got hired almost immediately. When the other employer finally called and offered him a job, it was a job for better pay, but it was a job in human resources, something he didn’t like, so by my friend’s waiting, he landed a job that paid a little less, but a job in an area he really wanted. If the first employer had called him earlier, then he’d have been less satisfied at his job and stuck doing something he liked less than the job he finally got. The point is, God’s timing is not our timing. He knows better than we do. It might seem like God’s delaying His answer, but God’s timing is always best for us, no matter what happens to us (Rom 8:28).
When the Answer’s “No”
It’s hard to accept, but sometimes “No” is the answer we’ve received from God, but it’s just so difficult to accept, however, if we look at things from an eternal perspective, it might make us realize, it’s best for us anyway. Think about this: If Joseph had not been thrown into a pit to die, his brothers wouldn’t have sold him to slave traders. If Joseph hadn’t been sold to slave traders, he wouldn’t have been sold to Potiphar’s household. If He hadn’t been sold to Potiphar’s household, he wouldn’t have been unfairly accused and thrown into prison. If Joseph hadn’t been unfairly accused and thrown into prison, he wouldn’t have interpreted the two prisoner’s dreams. If Joseph hadn’t interpreted the two men’s dreams, he wouldn’t have had a chance to interpret Pharaoh’s dream, and if he hadn’t interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, he wouldn’t have been put in second command of all Egypt, and if not for that, the great seven-year famine that came would have caused millions to die, perhaps even Jacob’s children who became the 12 tribes of Israel. When Joseph finally saw his brothers, he said, “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Gen 50:20). Joseph didn’t deny that what they did was evil; he only shows that God can even use evil for good. Just look at the cross. If the Apostle Peter had his way, Jesus wouldn’t have gone to the cross, but then, we’d all still be in our sins. Of course Jesus didn’t listen to Peter and this great evil brought eternal life to all who would trust in Him.
Finding God’s Will
Praying is not so much getting our will done on earth but getting God’s will done on earth, but God’s will being done on earth starts with God’s will being done in us! And I mean myself too. I am at the foot of the cross just like everyone else. It’s level ground and I’m just as much in need of God’s mercy as you are, but if we are seeking to pray for something, and it may not be the will of God, then we’ll be praying for something that’s not going to happen…or as they say, “Be careful about what you ask for (or pray for)…you might just get it.” We know it’s God’s will for others to be saved, but we may not know if it’s God’s will for us to marry that person, get that job, buy that house, or whatever it might be. God’s will is always best, and it’s always best to align our prayers with His will, and not the other way around. I know I’ve prayed for God’s will to be mine, without even knowing it. God’s will is best because He knows all (omniscient). We know precious little in comparison. There are many verses that tell us what God’s will is (Rom 12:2, 1 Thess 4:3, 5:18, 1 Pet 2:15), but if we know these verses and don’t do them, knowing that they’re the will of God, we’ll have a difficult time finding out God’s will when we are faced with big decisions. If you obey His revealed will, He’ll give you more revelation of His will for your life. When family, homes, jobs, and things like that come up, you want God’s will, because what may look great on the outside, may end up being bad on the inside. One man bought a house down the block. It looked beautiful on the outside, but when he moved in, it was full of termites and dry rot. The former owner had only put a fresh coat of paint on dry rot wood. This man later admitted that the house was more important to him than God’s will, and he didn’t even pray about it, so he said, “I got what I deserved.” At first, Joseph got what he didn’t deserve; then he got all he could have imagined. It wasn’t Joseph’s will to be thrown into a pit or prison, but somehow, he had faith that God was going to use all of this for his own good. There’s no Scriptural record that Joseph wailed or complained, but rather he was content to wait on God’s timing, but more importantly, for God’s will to be done and not Joseph’s.
If you’re coming around a blind corner and can’t see what’s around the bend, then you’re going to slow down, but if we’re in a rush to get something for ourselves but fail to consider if it’s the will of God or not, then we’re flying around a blind corner, not knowing what lies ahead. I will always choose God’s timing over mine, and although I don’t always like it, I can trust Him more than I can myself. Also, if you’ve had evil done to you, consider Jesus Christ endured. That great evil done to Him brought us much good (John 3:16), so we can trust God to take care of things, but in His time (Rom 12:17-21). It’s also important to consider God’s will over our own. Jesus submitted to the will of the Father, even though He prayed three times to have the cup removed…the cup bearing our sins, the cup of the shame He would face, the cup of excruciating suffering like no man has ever had, and the death on the cross.