Isn’t it amazing, how a culture with a plethora of information, is constantly screaming for answers. Maybe--just maybe--our world is looking in all the wrong places for the answers to their problems. I challenged some high school seniors this week, “Be careful who you get your answers from--who you choose as your teachers.”
The fact of the matter is we all get our answers from somebody. Someone is our teacher, and it is up to us whether we will filter their teachings through the lens of God’s word, or just simply “take their word for it.” It’s crazy to think how much we immediately buy in from a so called professional, and how much we question from the God who knows it all.
But when we pray, we are praying with the anticipation of an answer from our Heavenly Father. We are in essence saying, “I coming to you for the answers--be my teacher.”
We have been looking at the wonderful truth God gave to Jeremiah, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." (Jeremiah 33:3)
God made Jeremiah a promise. If you call, I will answer. Oh the thought! That the God who sits on His throne in heaven would consider the thoughts of man on His knees!
But this is where our minds become disgruntled. I’m glad He is here to answer me, but WHAT is the answer?
What college should I go to?
What career path is the one for me?
Will I make it on my own?
Will You heal my mother of cancer?
Here are four ways God answers the prayers of His children:
This is the answer we all want. We come to God with our request and he says “Yes!” And sometimes it comes almost immediately. We pray for God to meet a specific need, and it shows up right on the front porch.
I think it’s important to say that God is still in the “yes’ business! Some people believe God does not care for what they need or desire. He has lost touch with their feelings and simply relays a series of “no’s” upon our asking. But our Lord cares for the desires of His children and “yes” is not left out of His vocabulary.
“No. I have something better for you."
“No ma’am!” This is becoming a pretty common phrase in the Robertson household now that our little bundle of joy is learning to communicate how she feels. She has the sweetness of honey but certainly knows how to sting like a bee! Sometimes in these “tizzies,” daddy has to be firm. He must cut the little sting that is around her finger, and say, “no.”
Some would argue that saying “no” is a response of hate. It is restrictive measure only to keep control and be a dictator. But I would say it’s quite the opposite. If your child asks you if they can play in the road, what would your response be? I would hope you would say “Absolutely not!” Why? Is it because you hate your child? No. It’s because you love them so much that you are willing to keep them from unforeseen danger.
It’s not always enjoyable when God tells “no” but maybe He sees some danger that we are blind to. Maybe the wall that we see in front of us is not to keep you locked in, but to keep something else locked out! Closed doors bring protection from the outside elements.
God’s way is always best because with Him there is always more! Where one door closes, another will open.
“Yes. But in my time.”
Honestly, I’d rather just have a “no” then I would this answer. As my late pastor, Dr. Bobby Roberson used to say, “The hardest thing you will ever do is wait on God.” That has stuck with me, because I have seen in my short time of following Jesus, that waiting is so very hard!
James 1:3-4 reminds us, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
Faith is the fruit of a heart that patiently waits for its Master. The only trouble with waiting is we fill we must give the increase, and when we begin to put our hands in God’s divine work, it becomes tainted and unusable.
“Yes. But it’s not what you think.”
I am reminded of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” (Isaiah 55:8).
Sometimes God’s answer is yes, but it comes in the form of something unexpected. It is one of the great mysteries of prayer, that when we seek His will, our will begins to change. Some would say that yes is God’s only answer, because our will changes to the Father’s and therefore to His sovereign plan. I think there is a lot of truth to that. Regardless of perspective, it is true that our God in heaven often answers prayer in ways unforeseen by man.
We ask Him to heal a loved one from cancer, and He decides to take them to Glory. Did He choose to heal them? Certainly. Did He heal them in the way that we thought He should? Maybe not. But that is our God, and I am grateful to say that I don’t always understand Him. Because if finite minds like ours could understand Him fully, He wouldn’t be much of a God.
Rest in His response today. You can trust that He knows best.