Love and the Mystery of Unanswered Prayer

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Romans 8:28

Have you ever grappled with the question, “If God really loves me so much, why is my life such a mess”?

I certainly have.

It seems to be a very common way of thinking: That if God loves me, why did he let me endure so much heartache/tragedy/misery? If he cares for me, why am I still struggling to feed my family? Why has my career never taken off, I’m still single, my relationship with my spouse is strained, etc. etc. etc.?

Evidence of God’s Care

This morning, I was marveling at everything the Bible says about God’s great love for us. I know it in my heart, yet oftentimes I don’t feel it in my life circumstances. I wanted to know, how am I supposed to witness to others about God’s great love when it’s hard to find tangible evidence of it in my life? So much unanswered prayer!

So, I did the only thing that made sense. I prayed to God and asked for help with this conundrum. I wasn’t expecting an immediate answer, but that’s what I got! And then I couldn’t wait to share it with you.

Thing is, you and I probably both already know this, but it bears repeating. There is a big difference between LOVE that gives you everything you ever wanted (which might not even be love in the first place), and REAL LOVE that gives you exactly what you need. Allow me to clarify…

God is our Heavenly Father. And like any good Father, he doesn’t indulge our every wish, especially if the things we want are not good for us, or the timing is not right. The analogy that God brought to my mind this morning, is that of a wealthy parent…

pink heart gems

Picture someone with access to all the riches and Earthly resources a person could ever want (like Warren Buffet), but who is also a very discerning and caring father. If his child asks for a boatload of candy, wouldn’t he give an organic apple instead? Or, if his teenager asks for a luxury sports car for his 16th birthday, the father could say, “Not right now, son. I’m buying you a Volvo, because it’s a safe and reliable car, and you need that since you’re still learning. If you can prove yourself responsible with that car, then someday, when you’ve graduated from college and are ready to start your career, I’ll buy you a brand new Ferrari/Tesla/Porsche/whatever-you-want as a gift. But ONLY if you’ve grown into a safer driver and responsible person at that point, and I feel that you’re ready to take ownership of such an expensive car.”

Now that you’ve got visions of fancy cars dancing in your head, let’s break this down. God is kind of like the rich dad! Obviously he has infinite resources; yet, he doesn’t just dole it out like free Halloween candy. He has intimate knowledge of our needs (both physical and spiritual) and only gives us things based on his perfect timing and not ours. We may think we’re entitled, or we know what we supposedly need, but God knows what’s truly BEST for us at any given moment in our journey.

So next time you doubt that God really loves you because He hasn’t given you what you ask for, STOP!

PRAY for the Lord to grant you patience and understanding as you ponder the following…

  • Could it be that this (what I’m asking for) is not the best thing for me right now?
  • What is God trying to accomplish through or in spite of this (roadblock, tragedy, etc.)?
  • Is it possible that I’m not yet ready to receive the blessing yet? Perhaps there’s something I need to learn, or be more grateful for, for God to grant me this request.

Because, let’s face it, life is always going to be somewhat messy. And in spite of the fact that I’m 32, still struggling to figure out my purpose, why God hasn’t healed my IBS and chronic heartburn issues, and I’m still single, I KNOW deep down that God loves me beyond anything I could possibly comprehend. I know this because God gave His one and only son Jesus to save you and I from our sins, and there is no greater love than that.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)

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