How many times have I heard someone complain that God doesn’t answer prayers? Why didn’t God answer this prayer? If God was real, he would have done what I asked. I would challenge us to recognize that we tend to struggle because God’s answers don’t line up with what we want to hear. Don’t get me wrong…it is perfectly acceptable to ask God for things. Philippians 4:6 tells us that we don’t need to be anxious about anything but that we need to pray about everything and with a thankful and persistent attitude we need to tell him what we want. There is even a Bible verse that reminds us that God knows what we want before we even ask and that He knows what we need better than we ourselves know (Matthew 6:8). These handful of verses make me believe that God is not offended by us asking for things and wants us to ask. I think the problem comes when we think so highly of what we want that we think God is wrong or has forgotten us when we don’t get what we ask for.

Before we really start to tackle this thought, I think it’s of utmost importance to make sure we check our perspective. When we get frustrated about “unanswered prayers” it’s because we are looking at it from our perspective- with our own understanding. Remember the verse that reminds us that God’s ways are higher than ours–Isaiah 55:8– “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my than your thoughts.” ESV Proverbs 3:5-6 says Trust in the Lord with your whole heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Throughout the Bible there are countless reminders that God is other; He is wiser, smarter, all-knowing and other-worldly. I find that when I take a deep breath and check my perspective on that, it does help renew my ability to trust God. One of my favorite verses on this topic is Isaiah 26:3 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is (fixed) on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” (ESV). When I keep my eyes and thoughts fixed on God, I can experience that peace.

Most of us can think back to a time when God did NOT answer prayers according to our will and we couldn’t be more THANKFUL! Relationships that didn’t work out, jobs that didn’t get offered, a move that did or did not happen and the list goes on and on. How grateful I become when I see all these things in my life that God allowed to roll out differently than I was hoping for in that moment–things I prayed for fervently, but that God saw fit to answer differently. I am so grateful that God made the wiser decisions in all of those situations. I remember after the end of one particular relationship, even through the tears, I confessed that whatever was happening, I trusted God. I was angry, and frustrated, and I didn’t understand. I thought I had done everything right and I was still sitting there broken-hearted and alone. BUT I held on to the string of faith and trust that God was still in control. I can only hope that as things like this happen in the future, I will have even more faith and trust to know that God is still in control and is going to work all things out for good (Romans 8:28).

God’s will and desire for all of us is to give us the best and to mold us to be more and more like Jesus every day. Ask God to help you trust Him. Ask for what your heart desires, but confess that you trust Him and want to grow in your faith even through the answers you don’t like. He is good, He is love, and He knows best.

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