‘God, This is Not What I Ordered’: when God says no and other answers we don’t want to hear

Ever felt like saying that to God? You pray and pray about something, so full of faith and sure that God will comply, and when it doesn’t turn out how you expected, you think God didn’t answer.

So did He or didn’t He?

Recently a situation turned out almost opposite to what I was expecting and when it happened I was so surprised and said, “But I prayed about this so much.” Like as if my prayers didn’t work or God was somehow out of the office that day.

So many times we fall into the trap of thinking that God is like Jim Carey in the movie Bruce Almighty sending out a blanket ‘yes’ to every person in His prayer inbox.

My church has recently been doing a series on prayer and it really stuck in my memory when our pastor said, “Thank God He didn’t answer every prayer of mine with a yes!” The thing is, even though we think we know best, we don’t. Not more than a sovereign God.

God hears every prayer. And He always answers, but it’s not always a yes. Sometimes it’s a ‘no’, or a ‘later’.

To again quote the wise words of my pastor Russ, “Instead of asking, ‘God, get me out of this,’ ask:

‘God what can I get out of this?’”

God wants to teach us. He wants us to be obedient and not run away when He tries to build our character. And take it from me, building character is never fun, and almost always involves being humbled in some way (or every way). This is good for us because God “opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6, NIV). He delights in the heart that admits to not having it all together.

Because He wants to be needed. We are designed to be totally dependent on Him, and then we walk through life trying to depend on other things, we’re like a six foot man struggling with a child’s crutch, wondering why it won’t work.

I often want the whole plan for my life laid out before me (or at least the next 5 years) but, while God does speak to me about things to come, He actually wants me to walk with Him, spend time daily seeking His face. He wants to be known. How incredibly personal is that?

God never promises that we won’t get hurt. In fact, He is so invested in our characters that He often allows us to experience pain, and I think that is something that a lot of people, myself included, need to get straight. Instead of promising an easy ride, Jesus says, “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first” (John 15:18 NLT).

This morning it was brought to my attention, not for the first time, that my life is not my own. We died, remember? “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3, NIV).

I’ve been grumbling to God and others about how His testing and character building is inconvenient in my life. I was reminded today this one simple, life-changing truth.

My life is about the Father’s business.

We need to adjust our lives according to truth, not experience or feeling. In order for us to be effective in the world, we need to let God lead us through the wilderness (the desert, the valley, whatever you want to call it…) in preparation.

Preparing our character involves developing things like… our loyalty, wisdom, humility, integrity, obedience, responsibility, accountability. None of these are fun words but all of them combined create a heavy enough anchor to hold us when the storms, the challenges, the growth and the blessings of life come.

“But we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope …

… and hope does not disappoint.”

(Romans 5:3-4).

Sincerely, Lil

Image: http://tlcatholic.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/give-god-your-teddy-bear-and-get-bigger.html
Sourced: 9 May 2015

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