“For I am about to do something new. See I have already begun. Do you not see it?” Isaiah 43:19 (NLT)
“Prayer is taking a chance that against all odds and past history, we are loved and chosen.” Anne Lamott
- Call your prayer partner for your 10-minute prayer call! Never underestimate the power of praying with a friend.
- Sit and relax. Enjoy your time with the Lord this morning.
- Read Isaiah 43. Write verse 19 in your journal.
Even if He Does Not—He is Still Good
As fragile humans and followers of Christ, we put all hope in our Redeemer. We know that God’s omnipotent provision will cover us, as He works all things for His glory and our good (Romans 8:28). We trust that He will hear our pleading cries and come to our aid. But what can we make of the times He seems silent? What if it appears that God isn’t doing all we believe He can, even should, do?
My friend, can I be honest about a question that scratched at my soul for years, one that admittedly shook me to the very core of my faith? There were prayers I whispered to the Lord—sobbing, searching prayers uttered in the face of death, loss, and absolute heartache. These were prayers that appeared to go unanswered in the very worst of ways. Sometimes, I felt like I prayed to a God who either didn’t hear or didn’t care, and I couldn’t decide which was worse. I wondered how to make sense of those prayers. How could I reconcile the God who claimed to love me with His apparent stony silence in the midst of my darkest days?
The Lord was so kind to me, however, and through His beautiful Word and gentle love, He held my broken heart and opened my eyes to the truth of His blessing in my life. He tenderly revealed to me His sacred gift of prayer. Through my hurt, He changed me and deepened my faith in Him. He showed me the splendor that comes in following His ways instead of my own (Isaiah 55:8-9).
We expect everything to be immediate and ideal, don’t we? Our hearts desire answers to our requests neatly packaged and tied with an appealing bow. But sometimes what we are gifted by our loving Father doesn’t seem presentable. His blessings can appear ugly by the world’s standards. He works in the uncomfortable: a diagnosis that we don’t want, a broken heart that oozes hurt, a problem that seems too big (Matthew 7:7-11). We want life to be tidy. We want our faith to be palatable and easy. We whisper desperately to friends, “I just need God to show up.” We just want Him to do what we feel in our heart is best.
However, in these moments, our fleshly heart can deceive us, even about our loving Father (Jeremiah 17:9). You see, my friend, God always shows up (Psalm 46:1). Not only that, His Word says that He is a good Father who knows all and loves us beyond comprehension (Psalm 145:9). His grace is sufficient, and His strength upholds us in our times of weakness (2 Corinthians 12:8-10). His plans for us are beyond good (Jeremiah 29:11).
I have found that real prayer has its eyes fixed solely on Jesus, not on circumstances. Our loving Father is faithful to answer all our prayers with unimaginable grace (Psalm 31:19). But He knows what we struggle to fathom: the doorway to true joy, deep peace, and unrelenting hope is often fashioned from solid building blocks forged during our hardest seasons, when our desires appear to be so far away (Romans 5:3-5). Those are the times when God wants to hold us intimately close to His heart (Isaiah 40:11). During those times, we must ask ourselves, “What if the thing He is about to do is not something for us but something in us?”
Now, it may seem as if there is no possibility of glory in a prayer answered any other way than what you had hoped. What if you feel your faith waning and you just need relief? There is a similar story in Daniel, in which three men did everything to uphold the name of the Lord but as a result were issued punishment in the form of life-consuming fire. In the face of death, I can only imagine how fervently they prayed. However, with the flames before them, they proclaimed that, even if they were not delivered from death, they would still choose to serve the Lord (Daniel 3:16-20).
In our hearts, we must confront this question as well. What if He doesn’t? What if the thing we dread most comes to pass? He is still our God. We are still His beloved daughters. He is always good, He always gives us Himself, and that is more than enough.
Sweet sister, do you feel as if you have been hurt through prayer? As if the cry of your heart has gone unheard, your desperation unknown? May I suggest that those prayers that seem to float unanswered into the cosmos may in fact be part of God’s greatest, most merciful gift to you? It may be that the struggle you have so adamantly prayed against will be the one that brings you and others closer to His perfect peace and joy. This struggle, my friend, just may be God’s glorious redemption song for your heart. He is shaping you into His beautiful goodness, and He will lovingly carry you every step of the way.
Blessings and Love,
Questions to Ponder
- Are you facing a trial? Have you ever considered the possibility that God’s glorious answer to your prayers is a work He is doing that is not yet visible? How does this change your outlook on your situation?
Submit your heart to Christ today. If you are struggling, as I did, with the question of apparent silence to urgent prayer, ask God to reveal Himself to you. Make a list of who the Scriptures say God is. What are His characteristics? Ask God to help you rest in Him as He is working your circumstances into something amazing. He always makes beauty from the ashes of life (Isaiah 61:3).