On a regular basis, either in my life or in a conversation with someone the idea of prayers come up, specifically prayers not being answered in the time we set forth or the way that we want.
This is a crossroads everyone gets to. Maybe you pray for something to happen in your spouse, to get a spouse and nothing. It might be a child and you see no movement. A pastor prays for his church to grow and it is shrinks.
These are difficult moments.
They remind we aren’t in control.
They also lead us to a choice: will we continue to trust God or will we become bitter.
There is an interesting verse in the story of Samson in chapter 14:4, it happens so quickly that you can easily read right past it:
His father and mother did not know that it was from the Lord, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines. At that time the Philistines ruled over Israel.
Samson was sinning and doing the exact opposite of what his parents wanted him to and he was breaking God’s law. This is so heart wrenching to watch when a loved one wrecks their life. You feel helpless.
There is a crucial phrase that we can miss, that Samson, his father and mother were unaware of what God was doing and how God would work in this, in spite of Samson’s sin.
One author said, “What we don’t know may prove to be our deepest comfort.”
Maybe the prayer you are praying is not ready to be answered the way you want. Maybe it will never be answered the way you want. That doesn’t mean God is not listening or God does not care. Often, I find that when prayers are not answered how I want, it causes me to grow in ways I would not have chosen.
At that crossroads, we still have a choice: will we continue to trust God or will we become bitter.