Written by Melissa Miller
God has been reminding me of how He is faithful to answer prayers, even if the way He answers them is not always our way. Why is this? Why does our good, good Father seem to take us in the opposite direction or go silent as we cry out to Him?
The answer is simple (though sometimes hard to hear when we are hurting). He always knows best and always wants the best for us no matter what! Now that sounds uplifting and inspiring and we all certainly want God’s best in our lives, but His best doesn’t always feel good at the time. Sometimes it is a crushing blow, a deep sadness, or a pain that is almost too much to bear. Sometimes it takes us from our comfort zone, forces us to step out in faith or put our complete trust in God.
In our own life we watched this through the rear view mirror. My husband applied for a job that seemed a perfect fit for his gifts, talents and experience. He went through multiple interviews and was even flown to their out-of-town headquarters. The interview went well, but he was not offered the job. We were crushed. A few months later, that company was bought out, several months later that position was eliminated. God knew, He had our BEST in mind and was protecting us, even though it didn’t feel good at the time.
Matthew 7:11 highlights this love and protection of God the Father by drawing a parallel to the love we have for our own children and how we desire the best for them.
The Message version expands the thought by saying, “Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?”
Our family now has that prior experience to lean on when new situations develop and we aren’t seeing God move and answer prayers the way we want Him to. We know that He IS at work and He IS in motion even if we can’t see it yet, even if it doesn’t feel good at the time. Our faith was strengthened.
Many of us have experienced news of someone we know or love in a health situation that can only radically change with a miracle. We pray, we ask others to pray and we wait. Sometimes the miracle happens the way we envision, but other times that loved one leaves us and enters into the arms of Jesus. On this side of heaven we are crushed that God did not answer our prayer, but if our prayer was for healing, comfort and peace, God did answer those, just not this side of heaven.
Recently I found myself in the book of Nahum. In chapter 1 verse 7 it declares, “the Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him”. This echos what we see in Psalms 37:5, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: that God protects those that trust in Him.”
We should keep pressing in and sending our prayers to God, our amazing Father, trusting that He loves us and always has our BEST in mind. Sometimes the prayer is answered just the way we have prayed for it, but most times it is answered in a way that will grow and shape us to be more like Jesus.
Melissa Miller is the Welcome Team Director at the Allison Park Church Hampton Campus. During weekend services she can be seen shaking hands and dishing out hugs. At home she is hugging her hubby of 18 years and their their amazing kiddos. The front door is always open so they can all “Practice Hospitality!”