God didn’t answer my prayers. Okay, I guess the appropriate way to write that would be God said no to my prayer. I really only prayed once, and no is an actual answer. (I forget that sometimes.)
It seemed like a perfectly fine prayer. I asked God to give someone a good seat for a long flight. Bumping someone to first class isn’t too hard for God, right? So that’s what I prayed.
Well, I heard from my friend, and she got a rotten a seat. And that’s gotten me thinking about all the no answers we get to our prayers. How many answers to the negative does it take before someone says no back to God?
I’ve got friends who are struggling with big stuff right now. One friend needs a new job. Another suffers with chronic pain. And several are walking through heart-wrenching loss and grief.
I pray for them and hope the best for them and want for their lives to be filled with all kinds of goodness, but I suppose if I had to pick one thing for all my friends it would not be that they’d get the best seat on the plane. It would be for them to know God in the moment when they get the worst seat imaginable.
Life offers us a billion+ reasons to doubt God’s goodness, His power, even His existence, but it also gives us billions of opportunities to trust Him, anyway. I’ll admit for a small second I wondered if my friend would doubt God because of my stupid prayer. I hated that thought. It seems stories of people who finally say enough and turn from God are not so hard to find. They prayed, and the job never came; someone they loved died, or they never received that special leading they expected. Perhaps the center seat next to a crying baby and smelly extrovert is just the final straw. A storm of unanswered prayers opens up the sky to the irrefutable evidence needed to deny God—to refuse him, to turn away.
Yet God remains despite those who choose to deny him. He remains, and He waits. The Almighty, full of compassion and mercy, slow to anger, filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. His love abounds, and we have not even come near to comprehending that love. The kind of love that turned God into a man who laid down his life for us. And now, God’s Spirit teaches us, reminds us, guides, and empowers. We are not alone, and our thousand unanswered prayers do not testify against Him. He is God, and who are we to tell him what he needs to do? Our job is to trust Him no, matter what.
And so, I pray for my friends to know HIM in their moments of question because He WILL meet them there. It’s not easy. I know that. Sometimes I think it feels impossible. Maybe if He weren’t who He is, it would be. But it is the one simple thing we can choose to do. Believe in His Love no matter the answer we get.