Tonight at Bible study, we talked about how we can comfort others (and personally handle) when the answer to their heartfelt prayers seems to be no. Or at least not yet… but it might as well be no to the prayer.
So many times we inadvertently land ourselves in the place of turning God into a genie. If I pray hard enough or the right way or I’m faithful enough, then He’ll give me the desire of my heart. I don’t think that’s the intentional plan. At least I don’t know anyone who would admit that they are trying to gumball machine the Lord: perfect prayer in = heaven-sent reward. But it’s an easy trap in which to fall prey.
It’s just as easy to become ensnared in its counterpoint: if I don’t receive that for which I prayed, it must be because God is displeased with me. Worse, it’s that God doesn’t care – for me in particular or at all in general. Nothing could be further from the truth!
When we put our trust in feeling, we put our trust in human reasoning, something we know is not impartial, and something that isn’t Truth. Our trust must be placed in what we have been given as unfailing: God’s Word. But God feels far away – He feels like He dumped me in this pit of yuck and ran off. Those times feel horrible! But what Scripture say?
Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust. O my soul, you have said to the Lord , “You are my Lord, My goodness is nothing apart from You.” As for the saints who are on the earth, “They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.” Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god; Their drink offerings of blood I will not offer, Nor take up their names on my lips. O Lord , You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance. I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel; My heart also instructs me in the night seasons. I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalms 16:1-11 NKJV
Then Samuel said to the people, “Do not fear. You have done all this wickedness; yet do not turn aside from following the Lord , but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside; for then you would go after empty things which cannot profit or deliver, for they are nothing. For the Lord will not forsake His people, for His great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you His people.
I Samuel 12:20-22 NKJV
No matter what sin (wickedness) we commit, God still loves us. No matter how far away He feels, He will not forsake us. When Satan throws every manner of evil and despair against us, Christ is still Truth and trustworthy.
Thanks be to God!