Faith

Why Isn’t God Answering My Prayer?

 

We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. — Romans 8:28 ESV

In 2015, the New York Times ran an article called “Googling for God.”1 In this article, author Seth Stephens-Davidowitz started by saying, “It has been a bad decade for God, at least so far.” He went on to ask, “What questions do people have when they are questioning God?” The number one question was “Who created God?” The number two question was “Why does God allow suffering?” But it was the third question that slammed into my heart and made me realize the depth at which many of us struggle when we walk through devastating situations: “Why does God hate me?”

I’m not alone in wondering about God’s feelings when circumstances beg me to feel betrayed. While I would have never used the word hate, seeing it typed out as one of the most commonly asked questions about God shows me just how dark our perspective can get. The most devastating spiritual crisis isn’t when we wonder why God isn’t doing something. It’s when we become utterly convinced He no longer cares. And that’s what I hear hiding behind that Google search.

And I shudder to say this, but I think that’s what was hiding behind my own disillusionment as well.

What makes faith fall apart isn’t doubt. It’s becoming too certain of the wrong things.

Things like: Forgiveness doesn’t matter. It’s not worth it. It’s not time for that kind of obedience. God isn’t moving. What I see is absolute proof that God isn’t working.

That’s where I can find myself getting more and more skeptical of God’s love, God’s provision, God’s protection, God’s instructions, and God’s faithfulness. And most of all, where I start fearing He really has no plan at all, and I’m just truly going to be a victim of circumstances beyond anyone’s control.

The problem with that thinking is, while it may line up with what my life looks like from my place of pain and confusion, it doesn’t line up with truth. And before everything went haywire in my life, I had already put a stake in the ground, proclaiming that God’s Word is where I would turn and return to no matter what.

I could resist trusting God and turning to His truth. I could run from it. I could, with bitter resignation, put my Bible on a shelf to collect dust for years. But I wouldn’t be able to escape what was already buried deep in my heart.

I knew in this deep-down knowing place that what I was seeing wasn’t all that was happening. Past experiences where I have seen God’s faithfulness remind me that I don’t always see God working in the midst of my hard times.

There are a few times in my life where I’ve seen dramatic moves by God happen quick enough for me to say, “Wow, look what God is doing!” But most of the time, it’s thousands of little shifts so slight that the dailiness of His work doesn’t register in real time.

It’s hard when we are living in that space where our head knows God can do anything but our heart is heavy because He’s not doing what we are hoping for, what we’ve prayed for, what we’ve believed for, for a long while.

I get it — and I’ve cried many tears because of it.

So what helps? It helps to know these things:

  • God is active even if we can’t see His activity. Just because we can’t discern or detect what He’s doing, doesn’t mean He isn’t working.

We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)

  • What may feel like a lack of intervention is not a sign of His lack of affection.

This I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:21-23)

  • God loves us too much to answer our prayers at any other time than the right time, and in any other way than the right way.

We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 ESV)

Today look for beautiful ways God is showing you assurances of His love. His deep affection is all around you, friend. Even in the waiting places.

God, I confess it’s easy for me to become skeptical when things are not working out the way I had planned. Even when I don’t see it… even when I don’t feel it… I will stand on the truth that You are working all things together for good. In Jesus’ name, amen.

  1. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, “Googling for God,” New York Times, 2015, https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/20/opinion/sunday/seth -stephens-davidowitz-googling-for-god.html.

Excerpted with permission from Seeing Beautiful Again by Lysa TerKeurst, copyright Lysa TerKeurst.

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Your Turn

God is working on your behalf right now, even if you don’t see one single thing happening. He grows plants from seeds in the ground, babies from seeds in the womb, and does miracles in your life in secret places as well. Wait and have faith! Come share your thoughts with us!  ~ Devotionals Daily

 

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