He answered my prayer. It was so specific, almost insignificant to anyone besides me, but it was not something I overlooked. I saw and felt His Presence when I got the answer. I knew He had done what I asked, not for any other reason than to bless me because I had asked of Him. I couldn't help but give Him praise. He bent His Holy ear toward me and said yes. He blessed. He answered. I rejoiced!
It's a blessing to be able to give Him such praise. Yet I have to admit it came in the midst of a time of testing when I knew He was asking me if my faith would waiver. Just a few days ago His answer was no. It was something entirely different and much more significant to me and yet He didn't oblige. I can honestly tell you that it was something I have prayed long and hard over, pouring out my heart and shedding tears over this request more times than I can even count. The fact that He once again had to tell me no, keep waiting, doesn't mean that He's any less faithful but it definitely put me in a place where my faith was tested. My simple human mind has tried to grapple with understanding why and when He chooses to say yes or no to my prayers. Many times I have had to be reminded that His timing is not my own. Even more often I have had to remember that I only see what is before me. He not only sees the entire landscape but He has created it and fashioned it by His own hands. Who am I to question?! Oh, but I do.
So what happens when God does not answer your prayer?
"You pray fervently then wait hopefully for the changes you desire. When I don't answer your prayers according to your will, you sometimes get discouraged."
Sometimes?! Discouraged?! Let me be real, folks, I have had a full blown pity party. No one was invited, of course, because it was all about me and sulking alone in my misery seemed even more like a sacrificial act of martyrdom. Despite my own self, He offers this reminder:
"It's easy for you to think you're doing something wrong-as if you're missing out on what I have for you. When you think that way, you are forgetting a most important truth: that I am Sovereign. I am in control and I am taking care of you."
Yes, but Lord...You didn't answer me! You didn't give me what I asked and doesn't Your Word say ask and I will receive?!
Somehow I hear myself and cringe at the selfishness that I scold against in my own child. I'm waiting for it. Just waiting for the lecture I more than deserve.
"I want you to accept your dependent way of living as a gift from Me.... Actually, nothing will lift you out of the doldrums faster than praising and thanking me."
A glad and thankful heart. Receive His gift of dependence with joy. Praise Him even though He didn't give me what I want. Praise Him because He is God, He is good. He is Sovereign and my limited sight cannot see how He's choosing to bless me despite my loathsome behavior, regardless of my complaining. He doesn't have to give me any answers to my prayers, yet He chooses to because of Who He is. And then He chooses not to because of what He knows and His Sovereignty at work in my life in ways I cannot see. It's well beyond my limited way of thinking. So I have to trust. I have to praise. I have to wait. I continue to pray, not to keep asking for what I want but to continue to draw closer to Him. To thank Him for Who He is. Not what He gives me. But what He chooses not to give me. Even when it doesn't make sense to me. Even when it seems like I somehow know what's best. I praise Him because I don't. Because I am dependent on Him. And that's the only answer I really need to know.
(Excerpt quotes from Jesus Today)