Why Won't You Answer Me?

While watching television this morning, I heard a statement that broke my heart.  An elderly gentleman was telling the story of his beloved wife who had passed away years ago.  "We prayed for God to heal her.  We prayed and prayed, but God decided not to answer our prayers."

While I understand what the man was trying to say (as well as the many others who have said it), there's a problem with his statement.  To say that God decided not to answer is to call God a liar.  Jeremiah 33:3 tells us, Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.  Did you catch that?  This is God speaking.  He said if we will call, He will answer.  What the verse doesn't say is that the answer God gives will be the answer we want.

You see, a better statement would have been, "We prayed and prayed, but God decided not to heal her."  Or even, "We prayed and prayed, but God decided to answer in a different way."  God was not ignoring this earnest request.  He was not being mean by denying this couple the healing for which they were seeking.  God simply had another plan, and while we may not understand His ways, we have no right to accuse Him of not answering our prayers.  If we call, He will answer, but it will be in His way and His time.

When it comes to making requests of God, I tend to have the same attitude the psalmist had in Psalm 102:2 -  Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily.  "Answer me quickly, Lord, and let the answer be what I want it to be."  But what I often fail to realize is that God is doing me a huge favor by giving me what I need rather than what I want.  Sometimes He has to say "no" to my desires so that I can grow more in Him and come to better understand and appreciate the choices He has made for me.  It's not always easy, especially at the time I receive His answer, but it's imperative that we each remember that "no" is an answer.  And so is "wait" or "not now."  

Whatever your prayer is today, my friend, take heart that Jesus knows your need.  He hears your request, and He has promised that He will answer you.  Be patient, and above all, be willing to accept the answer He gives, even if it isn't the one you were anticipating.  After all, you may soon find that answer to be a blessing in disguise.