It’s been just over a week since i returned from New wine united 17, and like i said last week, i’d learnt a lot, not just about my faith, but about my self. The time away gave me a lot to think about who i am, my strengths, my weaknesses, my dreams, my nightmares, and everything in between. and honestly, that kind of intense reflection can be pretty scary. It made me realise how bad my insecurities actually were, even the ones i thought i’d conquered long before arriving for that wonderful week away. One such insecurity was giving a definite answer in our first main arena meeting.
Acclaimed author R. T. Kendall was leading the morning meetings, and it honestly was wonderful, and i really did learn a lot from him in the time he spent teaching us, but there’s one thing that really stood out to me, and it’s a real perspective changer.
It was an off-hand comment, but it was the turn of phrase used that really spoke to me, and that phase was “Thank God for unanswered prayer”. Now i’m aware it’s a song, but that doesn’t detract from the message found in this statement.
Something i’ve always believed is God answers all prayer, even if it’s not the answer we want. And i still believe this now, but i’d be lying if i said that phrase doesn’t speak to me on a deeper level. How often are we grateful for God not giving us what we want at the time? How often are we thankful that our desires are not met instantly?
We are in a culture of “i want=I need” so rather than actually thinking about what our desires mean and why that maybe isn’t the best thing for us, we are conditioned to believe what we want is what we or the world needs. That’s not to say how we feel is always wrong, it’s just important to know where that feeling comes from, is it from a place of selfishness, or is it from a genuine desire given by the Lord? And that’s where we must discern the difference.
God not “answering” our prayers should not be seen as an inherently bad thing, because quite frankly, it’s not. It’s a little hypocritical of us to claim we have unwavering faith in The Lord that resides over all creation and that he, as our heavenly farther that only wants the best for his children, and then complain that we didn’t get what we want. Now don’t get me wrong, i’m also guilty of this, there’s been plenty of times where i’ve complained about my will not being done over Gods, and every time i’ve looked back on those situations, i’ve come to see that, maybe there was a reason that the relationship i would have wanted didn’t work out, or why i’ve ended up losing contact with people i considered great friends, or countless other situations where i’ve tried to put my will before the Lords.
As an out and out cynic, it can be hard for me to say “okay God, i understand why this didn’t work out, and i know you have something better planned for me” when my prayers are not answered in the way i’d like, but does that make it less important to thank him when this happens? Not at all, in fact i’d argue it makes it more so. If i can thank God and trust in him even when it seems like everything is falling apart around me, then i truly know that i 100% trust in the one that knew me before my birth.
Unanswered prayer is so powerful when we are able to use the gift of hindsight, and the Lord shows us why certain things that, at the time we may have really wanted, didn’t work out for whatever reason, yet we feel Him tell us “do you see why now?” and that feeling and that knowledge may be, for me at least, worth all the heartbreak that unanswered prayer may bring. There are still things in my life that the Lord hasn’t given me an answer to yet, and even if that answer turns out to be no, i know that something better is always waiting, because our God is good, unlike anything else in this world or in this life, and when we feel letdown, when we feel like there’s nothing left for us in this life, he will give us hope, he will show his glory, for he is the holy one, the king of kings, the alpha and omega, and the Lord of all.
So remember, when you’re feeling let down, because a situation that you’ve prayed your heart and your all into doesn’t work out, that’s the time to thank him for unanswered prayer, because something better will always be around the corner.
If you have any times where God hasn’t answered your prayer but something wonderful has come out of that, please feel free to let me know in our Facebook group or find me on Twitter Here or leave a comment! I also have Instagram if you’re interested in that sort of thing (you can find a link to it Here ) so give it a follow, but as always…
Thank you for reading, and May God Bless you.