Experiencing your prayers answered is one of the best feelings in the world. To continuously pray and ask God for something, and then see that something come to pass, is like an anchor of faith that carries us for many years to come. I've had desperate prayer times when I've cried out to God knowing He was the only option I had - and He's come through. I've had less stressful prayer times just asking God for something simple in my life or some direction. An unexplainable sign or some answer would come that can only be attributed to an act of God. It's mind blowing and exhilarating. I've also had times when I've prayed for someone else, be it a healing or some kind of prayer, and that prayer has been answered. It brings you to tears because it's so special and near to the heart.
But what about those prayers that are not only unanswered, but are passed with disappointment? Some of us know the feeling of navigating loss when a prayer doesn't come to pass, like when I was asking God to heal my mother of brain cancer. Prior to her getting sick, my mom would always say she wanted a "healing ministry". She got sick, and shortly after, she passed away. Some would say that seems cruel, why didn't God heal her? My view is that God did heal her but He did so in heaven, where there is no pain, no suffering, just the joy of being free next to her Father's side. To some, that may seem like sugarcoated thinking, but I can say I've had experiences where I very much know she is still alive in the spirit, unexplainable circumstances and dreams that show me she is still near to me. Sometimes I joke about picturing her up there yelling at God to find me a husband or to hurry up because she's getting bored watching. My point is, sometimes our prayers aren't answered as we like and we have to navigate disappointment.
To those of you experiencing that kind of grief - let me encourage you, God see's. He cares. He will show you His love in a way that can only be experienced navigating disappointment and loss. You will come out stronger, very close to the Father, in-tune with who He is, and you will feel empowered. Hang in there.
Now there are other times when we've been praying about something for years and years and nothing seems to be happening. It's usually something you really really want - like a home, or a child, or the big job, or the husband or wife. You pray off and on for years, but it begins to take a toll on you.
Praying about something leads us to be expectant of answers and when those answers don't come, it can feel like you're going crazy, constantly thinking about something that isn't happening.
I understand the feeling. Last week I was driving through Los Angeles, looking for a potential apartment, and I was asking God about this. Why do some things take so long and how do we know we're supposed to keep praying? It's costly and sometimes I just don't feel like paying that cost.
I so clearly heard in my heart the quiet whisper, "What do you see?".
"Um, I see people, cars, bikes, the beach, some nice apartments. What do you mean, what do I see?," I thought to myself.
"You are telling me what you see with your naked eye. You cannot see what I see. I look at that person riding the bike, and I see her story. I see what was her past up until this moment, what is in her present, and I see her future. I see what is invisible, what is in the spirit. I see the full story, you are only telling me what you see in front of you".
Those words hit me like a ton of bricks. It was so true. I was seeing in part, just as the bible says (1 Cor 13:9-12). I went back around the block and looked at the same thing I had just passed 5 minutes earlier. The girl on the bike was farther down, now there was a young man walking with an old man, holding a book. They were walking towards the beach but the young man was holding up the older man because he could barely walk.
I heard the voice again. "What do you see?"
"A man and perhaps his older father or grandfather. Walking to the beach to sit and read him a book. Perhaps there is not much time left and this is something that makes the old man happy."
"Yes. You are seeing more of the story now. A speckle in time of two people's lives, yet I see the whole thing for each person. A moment in time is a lifetime in my eyes. This beach has had many stories lived on it. You worry about your prayers, yet you do not see what is happening. You cannot see in entirety. But you know me, the one who see's in full. You can trust our relationship. You can trust me".
I felt those words deep inside me. They were true. I was just looking for the answer I wanted, but perhaps I was asking the wrong question. What is happening that I cannot see? What is it that God wants to show me, instead of just the mere answer? There is so much more to the story that He is telling, and I am just jumping ahead looking for the ending.
I want to encourage you, the silence in your prayer life is not really silence. Take some time and go deep with God, ask him to show you what He's doing, what He has been doing. Ask him to open your eyes and your ears. Perhaps there is something in the story you're missing, and something that could change your perspective...or your life.
Thanks for reading,