My mom’s surgery went well and she is home now to recover. I spoke with a number of people regarding her surgery and recovery and found so many who responded that they were praying for all to go well. It was encouraging to see people post to Facebook and send a text or message to say they were thinking of my folks and praying for the doctors.
Seeing the fruition of these prayers builds a person’s soul and grows their faith– knowing that God answered their heart and all is well.
But what do you do when those prayers aren’t answered in the way you want? Does that mean that God blew it? That He is unfaithful? Does an unanswered prayer somehow mean that you are not as loved by God as someone else?
Over the years my heart has cried out for God to bless relationships I had with various boyfriends and with my fiance in college. I have prayed for people fighting cancer, facing infidelity, facing financial difficulties, loss of jobs or homes. My experience in praying these prayers for God to react and answer my pleas have been varied.
As an explorer in my faith I would pray and ask God for things, but I don’t remember ever thinking His answer was wrong. I have somehow found comfort anyway that I asked, but God knew better.
As a new believer I found that God answered the little prayers I lifted up– almost like He was allowing me to see He would answer the small stuff so I would grow in knowing He would answer the big stuff down the road.
And He has. Maybe not in the ways I would have liked Him to answer my prayers, but definitely in the ways He has known best.
Sometimes God has answered and people have recovered, relationships have been restored, difficulties have been overcome, but sometimes– God’s answer has been 180-degrees from what I wanted.
Sometimes the healing we pray for comes on the other side of Heaven. Sometimes the unfaithful heart is not repentant and will not submit to asking forgiveness. Sometimes God calls out to the lost and they don’t respond. It happens– but each time, no matter how He has chosen to answer, I have learned to trust that He knew better.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV)