Wednesday, October 3, 2012

{4} How to Have Faith in a God Who Leaves Prayers Unanswered

You're begging God for something specific.  
A husband, a ministry, a child, a job, healing, direction.
And Christians keep saying this same line:
"Have faith.  It will happen. You just have to believe."

Somehow, these words do little to soothe your soul, and here's why:
We've seen too many times that our desires aren't always God's will.  And if God left even Jesus' request at Gethsemane unanswered, how can we mere mortals be sure we'll have all we ask?  

There's a critical difference between

  1. faith that your prayers will be answered in the way you ask, and
  2. faith in a God Who is good, even when circumstances are bad.

You know that thing you're praying for?  Do you have faith that God is even better than the thing you seek?  Do you have faith that God is even better than
  • the absence of pain
  • the family you dream of
  • the ministry or life purpose you seek
  • the job or financial security you need?

I'm not telling you God isn't going to answer your prayers. I hope He does. I have no clue what His plan is for your life.  But even if you obtain all you hope for, this waiting is wasted if it doesn't help you love God more.

See, our loving Father wants one thing for us more than anything else.  He wants it for us because it brings more joy than anything else.  Do you know what it is?   It is God.  God wants for us to have God, not because He is an egomaniac, but because He is the best thing we could have.  And if it takes a painful season of waiting to make us run to Him for help, He will allow us that pain.  Because He loves us.  He knows that knowing Him more is worth far more than the price of whatever suffering we currently endure.

Having faith is 

less about believing we'll get 

exactly what we want, 

and more about believing 

we'll get more of Who we need.

"I do believe; 
help me overcome my unbelief!" 
Mark 9:24

If this post was painful for any of you to read,
please comment or email and let me know.
I know these are sensitive issues and I take your pain seriously,
even if I don't have the right words to say.
Please stick with us in this series.  I'm praying God meet you here.

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Today was Day 4 of
31 Days of Waiting:
Day 1     Day 2     Day 3     Day 4     Day 5     Day 6     Day 7     Day 8     Day 9     Day 10     Day 11     Day 12     Day 13     Day 14     Day 15     Day 16     Day 17     Day 18     Day 19     Day 20     Day 21     Day 22     Day 23     Day 24     Day 25     Day 26     Day 27     Day 28     Day 29     Day 30     Day 31


Christen Price said...

Needed this today friend!

Kristen said...

Beautifully written, and exactly what God needed me to hear this week. Thanks for writing so bravely and honestly!

JessiAnn said...

Waiting for a fourth pregnancy after losing a baby in 2010 to ectopic pregnancy. Lost right tube in process and have a lot of internal scar tissue. Lovig my two beautiful girls, but don't feel like our family is complete. I long to carry and nurse another baby.

hannah said...

This is so beautiful! A great reminder. It's so easy to forget that what we want may not actually be best for us. Thanks!

RACHEL said...

Hannah, that's a really good point. It's hard to remember that we DON'T know what God's best for us really is. Thanks for putting it that way.

JessiAnn, I'm adding you to my cork board and praying right now for you, and through October. I have two girls and can imagine how devastated I'll feel if we doubt the ability to add to our family down the road.

Cherry said...

Beautifully said - I loved reading this. So very true. I am writing a series (each Wednesday) on prayer, as there is so much to learn and grow in. And the ultimate goal is not to have our prayers answered as we wish, but as you said so well, to have HIM. (Visiting from Life in Bloom linkup.)

Christina said...

wow, you read my mind. I literally discussed this very thing with some girl friends after a sermon at church on Sunday at prayer. I struggle with having faith in a God who has left so many unanswered prayers in my life. It hurts and I have a hard time trusting even though I know I should.

I know I need to focus more on knowing HIM than knowing the answer to my prayers.

Please pray for me that I will do that. Bookmarking this post to read over and over again when I need it.

RACHEL said...

Cherry, I am going now to see your series on prayer... which fits hand in hand with all we're talking about here.

Christina, you're so right. It's hard to keep faith when our prayers aren't answered. But you hit the nail on the head: what we hope to gain is HIM, not the CIRCUMSTANCES we wish for. Beautiful truth, thank you!

hannah said...

One thing we have to remember (and it can be so hard to do this!) is that God ALWAYS answers prayer -- it's just not always in the timing that we want. And, sometimes, the answer may be no. It's hard when it is, but as others have said, we really don't know what is best for us. Only God does.

P.S. I am really enjoying this series, thanks so much Rachel!

RACHEL said...

You make a good point that God always hears us and always works for the good of those who love Him.

His actions can only be good and loving, because they come from Him -- the source of all that is good and is love.

Thank you so much for being here.

Annie said...

amen. i needed to hear this. He is better than what i seek, and i forgot that. i probably will again. but He will turn my face back to Him each time, and i am unspeakably grateful for that.

these words brought tears to my eyes: "Do you have faith that God is even better than the thing you seek?" i'm praying He teaches me to say an unhesitant yes to that in every moment.

RACHEL said...

I'm like you, Annie. I forget, and He reminds me. Repeat. Repeat. Rinse, wash, repeat. :)

He's so patient with us... even when we're complaining that He expects patience out of us!

Anonymous said...

This is just what I needed to hear right now. Thanks so much for sharing!!