When it just isn’t going very well…

 

We often worship God as Healer, Deliverer, Savior – what a great time to proclaim our worship. It’s okay to do this – it’s biblical! What a wonderful feeling to be able to express our thanks to our Healer, Deliverer, Savior, Redeemer, etc.

Some verses that show this:

The 10 lepers –

Luke 17:11-16 – 11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” 14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him–and he was a Samaritan.

Not just with Jesus’ ministry –

Psalm 40 – 1 I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. 2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.

And just in case scriptures aren’t enough, let’s go to the real source of wisdom in today’s world (haha, not!) – ACTUAL FACEBOOK STATUSES (the caps seemed appropriate) – but still, some of these are great! I’ve changed names and details to protect the innocent but wanted to share some awesome facebook testimonies as I make my point – and thanks for providing these, if you were one to do so! –

SO EXCITED to have gotten the greatest news I’ve heard in a long time…..She is Cancer FREE…that’s right!!!!!! 🙂 I must say it again…..WHAT A MIGHTY, MIGHTY GOD we SERVE!!!! Who will PRAISE HIM WITH ME??? THANK YOU, JESUS!!!!! 😀

loves ________ Baptist church!!!! God is so good!!! God really showed up today!
Thank you to everyone who always supports me and gives me words of encouragement when I need it most 🙂 I love you guys!

God is worshiped as Healer, supplier, and deliverer both throughout scripture up to this day. But what about when our prayers are unanswered? Do we have the same urge to praise when the outcome differs from what we believe and pray it will?

When it comes to God’s answering our prayers, sometimes seems that if we do not hear the answer we want to hear, we conclude that it was no answer at all.

It’s like the three retirees, each with a hearing loss, who were taking a walk one fine April day. One remarked to the other, “Windy, ain’t it?”
“No,” the second man replied, “It’s Thursday.”
And the third man chimed in, “So am I. Let’s have a coke.”

I believe there are times that we tend to think that God is the One with the hearing problem, when it turns out to be that we are the ones with the hearing problem.

We should remember that in between all the mighty manifestations of the Old Testament, followed by the ultimate act of redemption in the New Testament in the form of Jesus Christ, we have what is referred to as the “Intertestemental Period,” a period in which, basically, God did not speak to the Israelites for around 400 years. There were no prophets and no recorded mighty miracles. There were plenty of events happening – the Roman conquest of Palestine, the Macabeean revolution, a time in which several false Messiah’s rose and even gained some noteriety, but God’s voice was noticeable absent until John the Baptist and then Jesus the Christ.

 

Back to today – what about when God is quiet? What about when our prayers seemingly go unanswered? I believe most believers and even some non-believers can recount when God answered prayers. But can you recount times in your life in which you prayed, and nothing happened?

God knows us better than we know ourselves. Check out these awesome words from Psalm 139:1-16:

1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.

5 You hem me in–behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

How can these words relate to our prayers? Looking at the intimacy in which our Father knows us – I think it is safe to say that he also knows what is best for us as well, even more than we do ourselves. My children often ask for things that I do not grant. In the last year, they at first had a hard time why we stopped eating fast food (particular, “happy meals”) – but now they are getting it, and understanding that happy meals actually aren’t really all that great for them, and making right choices about what to eat helps them to feel better and do better in life’s activities. Of course, we’ll grant the indulgence now and then, but I digress. Our children (hopefully) trust us to know what is best for them, and so too we must trust God’s providence and sovereignty in our lives.

Check out the lyrics to one of my favorite songs – by Garth Brooks –

UNANSWERED PRAYERS

Just the other night a hometown football game
My wife and I ran into my old high school flame
And as I introduced them the past came back to me
And I couldn’t help but think of the way things used to be

She was the one that I’d wanted for all times
And each night I’d spend prayin’ that God would make her mine
And if he’d only grant me this wish I wished back then
I’d never ask for anything again

[Chorus]
Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers

She wasn’t quite the angel that I remembered in my dreams
And I could tell that time had changed me
In her eyes too it seemed
We tried to talk about the old days
There wasn’t much we could recall
I guess the Lord knows what he’s doin’ after all

And as she walked away and I looked at my wife
And then and there I thanked the good Lord
For the gifts in my life

If we were running our lives, calling the shots, and determining our “destiny”, how much less blessings would we have now? I’m thinking of all the wonderful prayers I’ve prayed in my life that I wanted to bad to end up as reality – but I examine my life now and the blessings which I have – my wife, my kids, my calling – are far greater than anything I had ever hoped for.

Sometimes, instead of a demanding, presumptuous prayer that uses faith as a tool to gain material blessings for the believer, than as the means to receive salvation and walk in Him, we should consider that apparent struggles are often blessings in disguise. I believe this can apply to all of life’s struggles, health notwithstanding. I don’t know why I experienced what I did as a baby (fractured skull, brain damage, major surgery), but what I do know now is that I have a unique testimony that really hits home with certain folks who are going through sicknesses and struggles.  Though my parents may not be able or willing to say this, I wouldn’t go back and change anything, given the visible reminder and testimony that my scars are from that surgery. Because of sharing the story of how God was faithful through injury and illness, I’ve been able to encourage and reach people that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able minister to.

This is why I believe one of the marks of a mature Christian is to continue the walk under persecution, no matter the intensity or nature of the persecution.

James 1:2-4 –

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Trials and persecution have a purpose – a greater purpose than we can see at the time, and all Christians will experience these sometimes. I know I’m going to end this post with a cliche and song lyric – but it really does apply, so I use it even while grimacing at myself for doing so – sometimes He calms the storm, and other times, His child. No matter which, our response is to be the same to Him.

Advertisements

One thought on “When it just isn’t going very well…

  1. Keli says:

    One of the greatest blessings I was able to receive from God was Praising Him because Amber was in Heaven, that she was healed. It’s true that her family, including myself, are still missing her, whether still in the greiving process or not, we’ll always miss her, it’s not what we’ve wanted, but it’s what God wanted, her to be with Him, ministering to us and to the world with Him in Heaven. It’s what God’s plan was, and praise Him for that. Some might say I’m weird for praising God when I lost her, but it’s just the opposite, I’ve been encouraged a lot through songs, through her family, and through the church as well. Her mother is still praising Jesus, and Heaven is that much more, because Sunshine is there. Thank you for sharing this with the congregation, it is true, that sometimes unanswered prayers are for our blessing and benefit, all of the things God does are for our ultimate good, be it discipline or silence or healing or grace and mercy, “it is very good.” Our ultimate destiny is to be with the Lord, as transformed Heavenly bodies in Heaven, glorifying Him, sitting at Jesus’ feet, or walking with the family of God, we’ll be walking the streets of gold as family, no arguing or scheming or fighting, no war or famine, just sunlight, Jesus, and love and laughter.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s