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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Listen while you read: "From Ocean Unto Ocean" (Lyrics)