When God's Answer is Not What We Expected
- Tuesday, November 22, 2011
“Ask and ye shall receive”—we all rely on that verse when we pray diligently and confidently for something important in our lives. It may be for a job when we are unemployed, for the healing of a loved one or for our children to make healthy choices. All seem truly worthy of God’s merciful blessings—our families need us to support them, none of us want to face losing a loved one, and every parent has spent a few sleepless nights worrying about how a child will respond to life’s challenges.
Yet, many of us don’t see these prayers answered in the way we need them to be.
It is human nature to then ask, “Why?” And as faithful Christians who believe in God’s promises, we may also wonder what we have done to deserve this. Has God forsaken us? Were we not prayerful enough? Is our faith too weak? Is God punishing us for something?
Is He even there?
When we expect God to answer a prayer in a particular way and He doesn’t, we run the risk of questioning our faith and getting angry with Him. Now don’t misunderstand me; God can take it when we need to vent. But He calls us to trust Him, even in the darkest of times.
And trust is often the greatest struggle for any Christian.
Many years ago, my first husband and I lost a child because of an ectopic pregnancy. This means that the baby implanted in the fallopian tube and therefore could not grow there. I had to have major surgery which came at a time when the economy in our city was very depressed.
Being out of work for recovery caused me to lose my job. Because my husband was in school, we had relied heavily on my salary. Losing that income eventually led to losing our home and our small business, which we were supplementing to get it started.
We couldn’t find work, so we moved several states away and tried to rebuild our lives. We both secured jobs and thought we were going to rebound. However, there was more adversity on the way.
I was stopped at a red light on the way to see a client when without warning, a car going an estimated 60 miles an hour hit me from behind. My legs immediately went numb and I was transferred by ambulance to the local trauma hospital. I had a serious back injury that required 2 years of intense physical therapy and once again, I lost my job.
Any one of these is a major loss. But we had to face losing our child, our income, our home, our business, and my health—all within a few months.
The toll that all this took on our marriage was indescribable. We were a young couple, unprepared for the enormity of these multiple crises in our lives. We couldn’t imagine anything like this ever happening to us and were ill-equipped to handle it. We lost faith in ourselves, in one another and were finding it hard to have faith in God.
My husband came home one day and said he just couldn’t do it anymore, packed his clothes, and moved out. As you can imagine, I was utterly devastated.
Still reeling from the trauma and grief of our circumstances, this seemed like the cruelest of blows. My life was in complete ruin. I had lost everything and my dreams of “happily ever after” were totally destroyed.
We stayed separated for over 2 years, which was its own form of “hell on earth.” With nowhere else to turn, I decided to use that time to get further into God’s word and see what I needed to do to fix this mess and save what was left of my life and my marriage.
As most of you know, the Bible is pretty clear about the subject of marriage. There is not a lot of wiggle room, so I became convinced that God was going to heal ours. Didn’t it say so in His word?
Confident that I had the blessing and intent of God on my side, I prayed like I had never prayed before. My prayers were deeper, more connected with God; meditative in a way they had never been before or since. My faith became much stronger until it was way bigger than a “mustard seed”—it was huge!
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