There are times in our lives when it appears our prayers “hit an invisible barrier” and come back down to us unanswered. It is at those times when our faith is challenged the most. Discouragement creeps into our minds and it begins a series of inward questioning. Know that at those times God’s Grace is now in control and sit back and smile. Say to yourself, “My prayers may not have reached fruition but I know who is still in control.” Yes, this may seem difficult but it beats complaining about it!
To those who are true BELIEVERS, how do YOU handle situations when you feel that your prayers have NOT been answered?
It's a temptation to launch in to a discussion about how God's character is bound up in His omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence, but I sometimes come to a point where I boil it down to God's "bigness" as I ponder this topic. He's so much bigger than we can imagine and even though I do not understand everything He does. He asks us to trust Him, take Him at His Word, and to believe what He says about prayer. So, I continue praying His word back to Him as I look for 1) His answers and 2) what He is doing in the process if the answer must be delayed.
The question is a common one, even among unbelievers, and you've put it well, but your "Yes, this may seem difficult but it beats complaining about it!" doesn't fit in to my comfort zone because even in the difficulty God's grace is greater than we can imagine. If we are not responding to what seems like delay of His perfect timing and perfect way then we are "the problem" not God. His way and timing are always perfect but we often (far too often) kick against God's work.
He does bring "beauty out of ashes". We may die before that work is fully accomplished, but if we have prayed about our desire/need/plea according to His Word those prayers are still in the hand of God. In some instances it may be that in eternity we will see the answer or we may see it in "the land of the living" but God is faithful to all that He says. Prayer is not excluded from His sovereignty.
Three books come to mind. The first is perhaps the smallest devotional read in the world: The Red Sea Rules by Robert J. Morgan. The second is a good read for everyone: Trusting God Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges. The third is a wonderful read for believers: Suffering and the Sovereignty of God from John Piper. Most importantly, there is God's Word helping me remember that He knows far more about a situation than I do and that He is far more able to handle it.
Great response ... my rationale for saying that "it beats complaining" is that it does. Even the best of believers will have opportunities where they find it extremely hard NOT to wonder. Paul let's us know that all have sinned and fallen short of God's glory. We are also admonished that if we say otherwise we are just liars. However, the point is NOT to beat ourselves up when we fall short but to realize that as long as we are "in the flesh" we are going to have those "down moments." Job did fine but even he got to a point where his "human nature" took over. No, he did not curse God but he did curse the day that he was born. So ... when we do fall short and complain; we need to be reminded that there is a better way--rejoice! And, NO it is NOT easy living a godly life and anyone who thinks otherwise is certainly confused. If that was the case--there would be no need for an advocate!
Again, I totally appreciate your comments which are very well received!!!
You are right, it certainly does beat complaining about it. The rejoicing is a very positive and desired response and I should have affirmed that. The concept of trusting in suffering has taken me farther than that, though.
I did not finish a sentence, "He's so much bigger than we can imagine and even though I do not understand everything He does." It should read "everything He does…I try to focus on trusting Him in the darkness."
Also, I failed to insert an important point in my sentence "If we are not responding to what seems like delay of His perfect timing (with trust) and perfect way then we are "the problem" not God." Sorry I wrote so quickly in reply to such a meaningful question.
I love that you added the concept of rejoicing in the context of not beating ourselves up…I'm smiling at the pondering it will bring.
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