One afternoon I went to town to run a couple of errands. One intersection that I had to cross is always bottle necked. When the light is green, the cars have to be ready to move because the light changes again very quickly, and if you don’t catch it, then you’ll have to sit for a while.
I was about the third car at the light and the light was green, but the first car just sat there. He didn’t inch forward.
He sat completely still.
I wondered if there were engine problems. The light turned red. Then the lane was clear to turn on red, but we continued to sit. I began craning my neck to try to get a peek at this driver…
”Who’s in that car? What is he doing up there?!”
I thought perhaps this was a young driver who was afraid to make the right turn on red. Now the green arrow is lit up…still no movement was made. Then finally, just as the light was changing to red he turned! I still have no clue what the problem was, but I do know that the waiting game was frustrating to me and all the cars that were backing up behind me! I wanted to pull up beside him to see if he was on his cell phone, or what the issue was, but of course I never caught up to him because the rest of us were still stuck at the red light!
Many times I’ve had burden on my heart for which I am praying and praying. I know that the Lord would be honored in answering my prayer, but there I sat at the red light. I’ve craned my neck trying to see what’s going on up in front of me…
”What is the Lord doing right now? How is He going to answer this cry of my heart?”
I cannot see the answer and I often get frustrated while waiting for His response to my prayer. Why is He not answering?
Hebrews 6:12 says, That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Warren Wiersbe says, “Not to walk by faith will bring unrest and weakness, but to meditate on the Word will bring peace and power.” If there is a request that God has not answered, we must remember that while we cannot see what God is doing, we cannot doubt:
- His love – However and whenever He chooses to answer will be a reminder of His great love. He cannot act outside of this attribute. I John 4:19 We love Him because He first loved us.
- His activity– God is always at work on our behalf. His providence will be seen in time, but we must be willing to wait while He works. Isaiah 65:24 Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.
- His wisdom – God sees what we do not. Even though we may think our request would be honoring to the Lord, His wisdom knows what we do not. We must trust that He is doing the wise thing in not giving us the thing for which we are asking. James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.
Hebrews 6 goes on to remind us that Abraham saw God keep His promise to him and he received the promise. God cannot lie and He is at work doing what is best for His children. I am to be a follower of patient Abraham and endure as he did.
Instead of honking my horn (fussing and whining) and trying to see what the Lord is doing, I must choose not to be slothful. That means while I wait, I need to continue to do what I know to be the will of God in my life at this moment. While I was waiting in the traffic it would have been ridiculous to have gotten out of the car to wash the windows or lean the seat back and take a nap! I needed to continue to sit behind the wheel and drive. While waiting for the Lord I must continue to pray and trust Him, stay in His Word, trust His promises and serve Him! Anything less would be slothfulness.
There are so many times I look back and thank God for unanswered prayers! It takes time to have that kind of vision, but we must remember that we can trust God to do what is best at the best time.
Part of the blessing of a burden is that it keeps us close to God as we pour out our heart before Him. If you’re “sitting at a red light” of unanswered prayer today, I would encourage you to keep on praying until the Lord lifts that burden from your heart. Allow Him to keep your heart tender as you pray. He will either lift the burden by showing you His wisdom in not answering, or He will answer in His way and time.
Let’s patiently endure while we continue to pray and wait.
2 thoughts on “When God Doesn’t Answer Our Prayer”
I love the quote from Warren Wiersbe.
I do, too, Debbi! Unrest and weakness have been unwanted companions of mine too often because I didn’t trust the Lord. Oh how much sweeter to lean in hard towards Him!