“Oh, that I had someone to hear me! I sign now my defense—let the Almighty answer me‘ ~ Job 31:35
When there is no answer from heaven, what do you do? Many project Christianity as a religion of answers – miracles and wonderful happenings. And hence when the prayers are not answered, we perceive that Christianity has failed. One of the central truths we have to take to heart is that God is sovereign no matter what happens or does not happen in our lives. When we are faced with a problem or difficulty, we are free to go to God in prayer seeking for this intervention. But we have to understand that praying is our duty and it is upto God to answer. As a father entreats a child that is crying by giving some sweets or a toy in place of what was actually asked, God does so in a similar way to the seeker or a new believer to the faith. Miracles and great manifestations of God’s power are seen. But the growth to full maturity of faith does not entail only miracles and getting our wishes granted. There is that difficult uphill climb to make when nothing is heard from heaven, and the circumstance remains the same. After having trudged a considerable distance uphill, we have to resolve to the fact that we may not find the same pattern of answers to prayer as before when the initial steps towards growing in faith were taken. This becomes frustrating. But nevertheless, we have to carry on. For that is what faith is all about.
Daniel’s three friends understood this aspect very well. Daniel 3 records – ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” The test was not of God’s power to save them but rather of their faith. They knew that their God is able to save them from the fiery furnace. And that even if he didn’t save them, he has done so because he is sovereign. This is mature christian faith. And God loves to see such a faith in us. This kind of faith needs constant feeding. Hence Paul says to ‘eat meat’ – the real word of God embedded with hard truths to follow, but must be followed inorder to grow to the fullness of Christ. One worthy example we can emulate is that of Christ who prayed to the Father, ‘not my will but yours be done.’
While we express our personal desires to God, we should conclude the prayer saying “but not my will but yours”. Christ prayed to same and God the Father chose not to answer Christ’s wish but to do His will. The Father did not forsake him. Rather he sent his angels to comfort Christ. So also God will strengthen us during such tough moments. No answer doesn’t mean that God has forsaken us. Neither will he will not test us beyond our limit.
Prayer – “Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for opening my eyes to this important truth. Yes Lord, you are good and in control of my life even when I don’t understand. Help me keep my eyes fixed and you and continue my faith walk, for you are indeed faithful. Amen.”
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