It is well with my soul: When God doesn't answer you.
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Wednesday, February 07, 2018
By Joy & Charley
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 I know that I have already stared down this road, the road of the unknown. The road where I feel like God is refusing to answer my prayers.  I have stared blankly, with wet eye lashes, and poured out my heart to God only to feel as if it fell on deaf ears. I have prayed prayers, the same prayers, for days, months and years and never had it answered. My first marriage, which wrecked havoc on my heart, mind and spirit, tore me to shreds. I prayed, and begged, and fell on my face and pleaded with God to intervene. INTERVENE GOD! 


My prayer constantly reminded God what I knew he was capable of doing. You split the Red Sea, God. You gave the Israelites the Promiseland. Your Word is true. Surely, oh surely God you can change the heart of one man. Just say the word God and it will be done. Save this marriage! Because I know, and I KNOW He has the power to do anything and yet...


He never answered that decade long prayer request. 


And my heart became bitter. And more bitter. And more and more until it consumed me. I had some lessons to learn about who God really is and the heartbreak was the fastest route to him and healing.


One of my friend's mom is fighting cancer. They know she won't make it, she told me the news emotionless and depleted. I saw it on her face, the complete exhaustion and knowledge that her beloved mom won't be around next Christmas or even this coming summer. I saw her pain, I read it in her eyes. She also knows that with just one Word God could change this situation that will surely devastate her entire family. 


This world seems to be over-taken with bad news. Turn on any news station, or better yet don't. I recently read a prayer request for a young mom who's child was just diagnosed with a terminal disease. This child is the same as mine and tears fall as I type this. I picture my child. I can only imagine what this mother feels. The sorrow and heart break she is feeling. How she hugs and cherishes every precious moment with her daughter. They need a miracle. They need one fast, and yes God can intervene. But will He?


I don't know.


I don't know why God chooses to answer some prayers and not others. 


But my journey through an emotionally abusive marriage has led me to believe that God is good. Which actually sounds backwards. Pain is suppose to equal bad. Like you cut yourself, well that's bad. You have an oozing, bleeding wound, you need to go to the Dr. and that is not a good thing or the medical bills that come with it.


But pain, the kind of pain that tears out your heart, and makes you want to curl up in a ball and just die....the kind that we all dread. The kind when we lose loved one's, when we get the terminal medical report, and we lose everything. That kind of pain actually can be quite good. And freeing. And demonstrates more often than not just how good our God is. 


Because right there, right in the middle of the fetal position...God is there. He is there with you. And there is nothing sweeter and nothing more life changing than an encounter with God.  And at my deepest, darkest places I have never felt so at peace. It in those moments I have felt, seen and heard God's love more than any other times in my whole life. I can't even describe it; it just that good. Because God is good. 


This morning I read in 1 Samuel, chapter 3 the story of how Samuel (who was a God appointed prophet) heard God's voice for the first time. It says in the Bible "in those days the word of the Lord was rare." (vs. 1. NIV) Samuel as a boy was set apart for God by his mother. He was under the care of the only prophet in the land, a man named Eli. God called out to Samuel a number of times but the boy didn't recognize who was calling him and when he finally realized it he said to the Lord, "Speak, Lord for your servant is listening." And what was revealed to him was life-changing, not only for Samuel but for Eli. Eli, a servant of God, a man who LOVED God but had ignored the sin that his own sons had been committing for many years. And God, took note of this, and decided that Eli's son's sins could not be ignored. (again, this is BEFORE Jesus died for us) He told Samuel to tell Eli that destruction was coming for his entire family to pay attoinment for the actions of Eli's sons. 


Eli's response to this grave news....Well, it just blows me away.


After hearing his entire family will be wiped out and he also will die, says "He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes." (vs 18)


Wait, what?  His future is more than uncertain, it is known that hardship is coming. He is warned, and God reveals the hard truth to him. I'm sure his heart sank upon hearing this news; I'm more than positive he cried. I'm sure he wanted to not accept this news, maybe he even had a moment of denial. Anger, I'm sure welled up for at least a moment. It just didn't seem fair. He was being punished for the acts of his son's. 


And it's not fair..this thing we call life. I tried to explain that very thing to my 6 year old yesterday. It's hard to grasp why some horrible things happen to amazing people. How some prayers are answered and some are not. But Eli's response is exactly the right response. He knew, without one inch of a doubt in his heart, that God is good.  I pray as I write this, "Lord help me through the fear that consumes me at the unknown future." Sometimes the fear over takes. 


Because we are guaranteed that that bad things are going to happen. It is a given and I refuse to let that fear of the unknown paralyze me from enjoying all the blessings God gives me every day. Fear robs us. Love delivers us. We do not have the promise of an easy life. But we do have the promise that God will never leave us.  He fights our battles. He makes us better and stronger with each hardship. He in His ultimate wisdom, loves us better than we could ever love ourselves.


I recall just how much God has delivered me out of; there have been so many dark pits in my life. The roads, at times, have been dark and treacherous. They have been windy and I have gotten lost so many times. But He has never ever failed me.  He stayed with me right there on those roads. I am reminded that no, He did not answer my ten year long prayer. He didn't save my marriage, but he surely gave me the desires of my heart in my second one. Never lose hope, those road trips change us for the better and lead us to a life that we no longer cling to.




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