Garth Brooks sang, “Sometimes I thank God, for unanswered prayers, Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs, That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care, Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.” (Unanswered Prayers, No Fences, 1990).
I read a post recently from concerning Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” the blogger was trying to work through why sometimes God does not seem to answer our desires.
Here are my thoughts:
I think we often become too focused on whether God answers or does not answer our prayers and forget that He always answers the prayers of His children, though not in the way they want or expect. Much like a parent may answer their child today. Somewhere along my journey a mentor helped me see that God answers in at least five different ways:
1) Sometimes God answers, “Yes.” Hezekiah requested not to die. God gave him 14 more years.
2) Sometimes God answers, “No.” David asked that his son with Bathsheeba live. The infant died.
3) Sometimes God answers, “Wait.” Abraham and Sarah waited quite awhile for Isaac.
4) Sometimes God answers, “No, but . . .” Paul prayed three times that his thorn in the flesh be removed. God said, “no” but gave Paul grace that is sufficient.
5) Sometimes God answer, “Yes, and . . .” Solomon asked for wisdom to rule. God gave him wisdom, wealth and fame.
BTW, Hezekiah’s yes answer became a problem for him and Solomon’s wisdom, wealth, and fame became a snare. Maybe a “No” from God is sometimes the best answer.