[un]ANSWERED Prayers

[un]ANSWERED Prayers

Have you ever prayed for something… prayed hard…just to find unanswered prayers. I’ve found the problem with prayers… is that as humans we pray for solutions… thinking we have all the answers. Asking God to do things that we deem fit… instead of praying that “Thy will be done” [as in what God sees fit to happen]. Almost Like Cinderella and the glass slipper. Oh, how those step sisters wished the glass slipper would fit…but regardless of how much they crammed their pedicured toes into that shoe… it just wouldn’t fit. Just because they wanted it to fit… didn’t mean that it would. It wasn’t for them. It wasn’t part of the storytellers plan. [wink wink… you know because God is the master storyteller]. Just like your girl cramming her feet into a gorgeous pair of Betsy Johnson’s in the clearance section of TJ Maxx- even when I know… I have the foot of a sasquatch; with a robust width of a size nine and the length of a stubby size 7. How I've prayed for things to be the exact right fit… when all along… God was telling me… it was the wrong size… and not for me. 

You see friends, I’ve always prayed… usually going to God with more of a list of needs and wants than words of thanks and praise. But over the years my prayer life has changed quite a bit. I grew and I matured and I began going to God with thanks for all he has blessed me with… even if it didn’t seem like a blessing at the time. Like the time I prayed for God to help me pass the test… when you know, I didn’t read the book, study or show up to half of the lectures. Well… That prayer went - yep you guessed it….unanswered… but it truly worked out for the good! Trust me! God isn’t a genie in a magic lamp… now, if He wanted me to pass that Comparative Politics Final Exam… I would have [I mean He’s God… He can do anything]… but would I have learned the valuable lessons of attendance, dedication and true hard work… nope, absolutely not. This lesson has served me so well throughout my life… I seriously think about it all the time! I’m almost thankful I had to take that class twice… almost.  But sometimes it’s so much harder to see the light at the end of an unanswered prayer.  

Thinking back the most I ever prayed… I mean, going into church in the middle of the day, a tear stained face at the altar on my knees, crying out to God in my car at the point of hyperventilation - prayers was when my dad was in the hospital in 2022. If you have followed along and read any of my past blog posts you may remember I have written about my Dad alot. My dad was a man of God, my inspiration, and my best friend. He dealt with health problems most of his life after being exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam during the war. He had a triple bypass [an extensive heart surgery] before I was even born, and throughout my life he had more hospital stays than I could count on both hands. In 2020 when the COVID pandemic hit, we were terrified what would happen if he got sick [not knowing anything about this new strange illness] but as we all carried on about how he had to Lysol his groceries… well he would just recite Proverbs 3 verse 5… telling us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not depend on your own understanding but in all your ways trust in him and he will make your paths straight” [That is my version- a combination of NIV, ESV & My son’s NIRV]. Through the entire pandemic… he lived his life, praising God, completely unscathed. Until 2022, when my dad got sick… with COVID. That was the point where I found myself crying out to God more than I have ever in my entire life. As a family we had dealt with month long hospital stays, surgeries and pacemakers… but this time it was different. I prayed in churches, hospital chapels, in my car and through the aisles of Walmart, but it seemed like nothing was working and my dad wasn’t getting any better- but after a year of grief counseling what I feel like is more emotional maturity- I see that those prayers were answered. Just not how I thought they should be. I prayed “God heal my dad”.... Check- he is currently living pain free in a place where there is no pain and no suffering. “God allow my dad to come home”.... check my dad is no longer suffering and he is in his forever home. But because our heavenly father is sooo soo good, God decided to throw in a twofer and said I’ll do you one better… even though it wasn’t what we wanted…my Dad came home on hospice. When the doctors said he wouldn’t make the transport to the hospice unit of the hospital…. he made it home. It was only for a day, but it was the best day that our family spent together, loving each other and worshiping the Lord. As I look back there are so many other little answers to my prayers, miracles, that for over a year were clouded by pain and tears. You see my sweet friends… I wanted… I wanted my Dad to get better and bounce back… I wanted life to go back to the way it had been before he got sick. I wanted my Daddy home, I wanted my Daddy whole… but as I look back.. It was what … I wanted… but it was not what God had planned. 

How many times do we go to God and say I want, I need? But when Jesus taught his disciples to pray he said: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Matthew 6:10-13

Now I know that my heavenly father does not want to see us in pain. It is not “his will” for us to be heartbroken, sad or lonely… but if I truly believe in him… I need to know that he holds the whole world in his hands; that he has planned the beginning and the ending of each of our stories, and that he loves us more than we can ever imagine. And since we live in a fallen, broken world we will face trials of many kinds… but Jesus tells us that those trials will test our faith and produce perseverance and no matter what he will give us peace because he has overcome the world. 

So if you are facing trials today… trials that bring you to your knees, trials that leave you feeling empty and broken…just remember that even the prayers that seem to be unanswered… may be answered after all.

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