As I pondered the change in my opinion about my breakfast, my thoughts turned to how God answers prayer. What happens when God answers prayers differently than we would like or expect? There have been many times in my life when I have excitedly looked forward to something only to have my hopes dashed when things didn’t turn out the way I had hoped. But does that mean God didn’t answer my prayers? No. On every one of those occasions I’ve discovered that God had other plans for me, and those other plans were always better than what I had designed for myself. I can say without a doubt that God always answers prayer. What I have learned, though, is that God doesn’t always answer it in the ways we expect. Sometimes I don’t even like His answer…at first. But that is where trust comes in. I know that God’s plan for me is far better than anything I could plan for myself, for He sees the entire picture. I only see a small snapshot of life.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Sometimes God says, "No", because He knows what is best for us. Just like the loving parent, who denies their child the extra piece of candy is protecting them from a sore stomach; God is protecting us from things not yet seen. And often it is because He has something even better planned for us. I love the quote from Reverend Billy Graham’s late wife, Ruth, “If God had answered my prayers the way I had hoped, I would have married the wrong man several times!” God knew even before Ruth what was best for her. He was preparing the perfect match and partner in ministry for her. If Ruth had married her other suitors, the Graham’s life and legacy, would have been entirely different.
Sometimes God says, “Not that way”, because He’s taking us in a different, better direction. He knows the best path for our lives. Sometimes God says, “Not yet”, because His timing is perfect and he may want to develop patience in us. “But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). And Sometimes, God says, “Yes!” because our prayers are in line with His will for us. So, when praying, we need to ask ourselves - Are our motives wrong? Are we praying for God’s will or for our own? By letting God know our desires, but then trusting Him for His answers, and remembering that He has a reason for everything, we are demonstrating our faith in Him.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Yes, God always answers prayer, but thankfully, sometimes we get pumpkin bread.
Living for Him,