Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "From Ocean Unto Ocean"1 (Lyrics)
An outstanding memory from my youth stems from when I was only ten years old. I was sitting alone in the third pew on the left-hand side of the church in Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada, of which my dad was the minister and my mom was the organist. I distinctly remember comparing my experience of God with that of my parents. They talked to God, and they got their prayers answered, but none of mine were. Miracles happened in their lives, but none ever happened to me. They knew God was real, but why didn't I?
I'm sure that many of my readers can identify with such thoughts when we read of miracles that happen to other people. We might expect that God would protect people who work for God, like ministers and missionaries, but why would He worry about little ol' me? Their prayers are answered, but why should I expect God to answer mine? Anything extraordinary only happens to other people. Why does God seem so far away?
People don't naturally trust people whom they don't know, much less God. And when we do trust people, especially God, and they don't come through as expected, we lose our trust in them. It is difficult for people uninformed in the ways of God, especially children, to understand that God sometimes says "No" or "Wait".
One of the big keys that I've found is that God responds positively to the trust that we place in Him. But we have to learn that God often has a better idea than what we were hoping for. Sometimes, we need to wait a long time until the reason becomes clear for what God has allowed to happen. It takes time for God to build up His "credit rating" with us. When we complain about God's answers, we are not trusting that He is with us and for us, and that He is in control and wants the best for us. Trusting and complaining are opposites, like trust and fear. We have to trust that God is kind and wise and loving and good in how He answers our prayers, and then, we start to see Him responding to our trust.
Although God has never promised to answer "Yes" to all our prayers, He has given us specific promises that He invites us to trust. Here are just a few examples:
Hebrews 13:5b – He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (NKJV)
Isaiah 43:2 – When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. (NIV)
John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (NKJV)
Prayer: Lord God, it is so easy for us to become discouraged and feel like our prayers bounce off the ceiling. As we wait upon You, draw near to us who so desperately need to feel Your presence with us. Give us an ever-increasing trust in You, that we may even come to the point where we can say with Job, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him" (Job 13:15a NKJV). This we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.
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A good word for today Robin.
Thanks so much for these thoughts. I am struggling with unbelief.
Oh, what a lovely devotional this morning! Ever so true. Thanks for sharing.
A beautiful devotional, Robin. I intend to read it out during our Men’s Coffee Hour.
Very good, I do believe but these morning devotions are great T watch them every morning.ZZ Thank you.
For sure. How many people’s fledgling faith has been ship-wrecked because a tragedy struck and God didn’t “seem” to care!
Many thanks for this. These days I am working with a young man who is experiencing something very similar to that which you experienced in your younger days. I think this will be helpful for him.
Another one I can relate to. What is it with the third Pew from the front for preachers kids? And I always wondered is the right side from the view point of the chancel or the narthex? Keep up your good news (when you are not busy fixing someone else’s!)
This devotional was very meaningful to me as I related my own experience of unanswered prayers. Thank you for writing this comforting message of hope and trust in the Lord.
Blessings to you and your family.
I am in agreement with you. Being part of a prayer ministry, I also face those questions as to why God does not answer their specific prayers. Even though The Lord says, “Ask and ye shall receive,” He is an omniscient God – all knowing. As such. He already sees into our future whether what we pray for is best . We need to be reminded to pray as the Lord’s (The disciples) Prayer, “Thy will be done” – trust and be satisfied with His answer. We may be praying for something detrimental to our well-being.
Thanks for bringing this to the forefront.
Robin, As I read your testimony, the following thoughts came to mind:
It seems that your parents, through their example, planted expectation in you at an early age. You came to expect answers from God. In my opinion, that, in itself, is amazing.
If you’ve never known what God can do in answering prayer, you can’t even experience the disappointment or concern over unanswered prayer, or know the longing for God’s answers.
The experience of waiting on God may come with pain, but it’s a kind of pain that belongs only to those who hope.
Hello Robin, your message today really hit home with me! I have had the same thoughts and feelings about God that you have and I try so hard to trust in God and believe that He has a plan for each one of us (and it might not make sense ‘til much later on in our lives). However, I struggle with the thoughts – “why this?“ and “why him and not me?” and so, I must trust in God and His plan. I too, read those same Bible passages that you included in your message – I find a lot of comfort in them. Thank you for writing & sending your thoughts to PresbyCan! Blessings.
Good Morning Robin:
A beautiful teaching message with so much assurance promised when we Trust and Obey.
I was intrigued by the way you so clearly pointed out the fact that trusting out Lord to do His will is very much the opposite of complaining that our prayer was not answered. You made it very clear we have to trust that God is kind, wise, loving and good in how He answers our prayers and although God has never promised to answer “Yes” to all our prayers, He has given us specific promises that He invites us to trust His decisions in our lives and always lean on His everlasting arms in our lives.
Too soon we feel neglected if we do not receive the answer we want to our prayers, only to discover, later on, how blessed we were not to have received the request we made at the point in time.
I loved the scripture verses you used.
A marvelous promise from He who loved us even before we took our very first breath.
Good one Robin!
Robin I read your Little O’l Me With pleasure to hear from you on the front side of the Daily. It brought back memories of my own. God bless.
Robin – This devotional reminds me of how I have felt when sending you a submission wondering how you would accept it. During these years I haven’t always received an okay without a need for revision. However, as we have worked through changes, devotionals have been produced for the glory of God, for which I am thankful. Praise Him!
Thank you Robin for this sharing devotional. I can just picture you sitting there in that little church. I may have been in the choir loft on one of those days. The one where your Dad would leave the pulpit and put his other hat on to sing in his great tenor voice shouting out praises to the Lord and your Mom played the organ. I was just thinking about their miracles, I bet you were and are one of them.
Thanks for your devotional with its reassuring verses at its ending. We can never tire of hearing those verses. They are meat and daily bread, and remind me of times of my early childhood in the pew.
Too, they remind me of a time when I was little, and my brother and cousins and I were playing on the green grass in the yard behind our house, when a cousin, about half a year older than myself, reached his arm toward the very blue sky where a few very white clouds floated low, and came out exuberantly with the exclamation, “God is everywhere, even up there on those clouds!”