Am I the only one that finds it easier to pray for things that are hurting or wrong, broken or sick? I know all about prayers of praise and thanksgiving and I pray them often, but the majority of my prayer life is centered on people or situations in some type of need for improvement. Some of these healing prayers are answered and some are not. Sometimes I understand, or think I understand, why they are not answered. Other times, God and I do not seem to be on the same page.
This disconnect that often occurs between our will and God’s will regarding difficult situations is long documented. The entire book of Job is dedicated to the fact that God was not answering Job’s prayers. Everyone, including Job’s friends, had an opinion why during his difficult time. James writes in his New Testament book about how the prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective. In Psalm 22 the author wrestles with the feeling that God has forsaken him and pleads for the Lord to show His face.
So what is a believer to do with prayers that are left unanswered or prayers that are answered far differently than we desired? The honest answer is simple but difficult. We are called to trust in the work and will of God. Trust is much more easily given when prayers are answered the way we like and when blessings are clear and abundant. Trust is more difficult when sickness, death, poverty and misfortune are upon us or our loved ones.
Our disconnect from understanding God at work in this world comes from the reality that this world is cursed from sin. Paul writes in Romans 8 that it is “subjected to frustration.” We are attempting to observe and interact with a loving, life giving, Holy God through a world that has been cursed and sentenced to death. Yes, God has promised to fix things and, in fact, sent Jesus to do just that, but He has also told us that any fixing still falls short of the glory that will be revealed in the last days.
In other words, our greatest blessings, the most amazing miracles, and all answered prayers are just a sampling of what our perfect life will be like in Heaven. Because of the curse we cannot experience these blessings in full right now. But in His mercy, God still reveals His power, mercy and love to us in various ways so we will call on Him to rescue us from this broken, fallen creation. God listens to all our prayers and answers every one of them. Some answers just require us to trust Him and have a little more faith. May God grow faith in you (us) to trust Him in all circumstances!