Many of us have, at many times, wondered why God hasn't answered our prayers in the specific way we asked. I mean, we are fully up to speed with the need of the situation; we know all the details; we've laid the dilemma out before the Lord. He'll be able to see in the twinkling of an eye that we're praying in the right way. But … what's that … someone else got the job? I'll have to replace the car that can't be fixed? The sickness won't go away? My loved one died? I must not have prayed hard enough. Maybe my life is too screwed up for God to answer my prayers — maybe He doesn't even notice me.
Click Here to Download MP3 Spoken Version of This Post
–Just .99¢ through Google Wallet
I don't want to buy it, just listen to it — Click Here
It's hard enough down here having to fix our own gutters and broken-up cement walkways. But when our heavenly insurance policy won't pay up … well, that's too expensive a lottery ticket to just toss away.
Well, I hope you've managed to picture me with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek. As much as I feel it would be wise for God to see things the same way I do, I'm smart enough to know that it's probably not going to work out that way.
Can you imagine how the world would look if God were to answer every one of your prayers in just the way you requested? At first you'd start with the reasonable prayers: let the world be enlightened with glory from Your throne; clean up the hearts of human beings; fix the things that are wrong with the natural world; show us how to end pollution. You know, all the top-of-the-list sensible requests. Once we'd got all the high-stakes business taken care of, we'd start to move down the line a little: clean up my neighborhood; spruce up my house; keep the weeds out of my yard; stop the wasps from building homes under my deck and behind the window shutters. Then we'd start to get specific: keep the mosquitoes away; keep the frogs and crickets a little quieter at night; stop the neighbor playing that awful music at one in the morning.
I don't doubt for a moment that God can make our day in a thousand different ways. So why doesn't He? I have no idea. Could He be too busy with other things? Unlikely. But there is definitely some program running that won't allow things to play out just the way I think they should. My opinion on the way the earth turns doesn't appear to make the front page of the "Daily Universe." I imagine it barely gets into the Personal Column, but that's about as far as it goes.
We have a mandate from Jesus to pray to the Father in His name. If there were no need of prayer, Jesus would not have counseled us to do it. Jesus prayed to the Father. He taught us how to pray. We are to pray for things we need. We should pray for each other. Pray for our leaders. And leave the results with God. We have no clue what will prosper or pick up speed; maybe it all will. Maybe none of it will bear any fruit at all. But prayers made to God seem to me to be like requests for money made to rich people; we make the request because this person has the power to fulfill the need, and if the response should be in our favor, there is cause for rejoicing; if not … well, we'll deal with that when we come to it.
Some years ago I found a small leather plaque at an outdoor market in England which I have kept with me along my journey. It reads like this:
"Let us then be up and doing
With a heart for any fate.
Let us learn to labour and to wait."
The humble art of agriculture has been so far removed from the mind of the average person, that we have very little patience for the natural development of just about anything. And thus we have no time, nor sense, for the things of the Spirit to work themselves out.
It perhaps is no accident that the word in the Spanish language for "hope" is the same word as "wait" — Esperar.
I have a sense that, on the other side, when we get our fifteen minutes of "Why," we'll have opportunity to see how much more miserable we could have been if things had worked out just the way we thought they should have. And also why some of our prayers … were totally ignored.
And that's just my take on it ….