Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The valley of unanswered prayers

It’s been a while since I wrote anything on my blog and in that long while I’ve made several discoveries and learned things that are constantly stretching me beyond my limit.
One thing I’m finding out is that getting to know God is hardly a task for the lily livered person. If you have been so knocked down by life and you feel running into the snug arms of God will put an end to all your troubles, you’re dead wrong and right at the same time too!
Yes, God will shield you from the storms that sent you running to him and after you have drawn strength and wisdom from him, he will send you back out into it to still it, simply because he knows you can do it.
That‘s another thing I’m learning about God, he’s multi faceted, in ways that I can’t even begin to imagine. There are so many sides and mysteries to him that each day is a foray into depths of discoveries that can turn the way you think around in an instant.
Right now, I’m learning that God isn’t always quick to jump when I snap my finger which is what most believers tend to do when they find themselves in hot water.
When I got born again at first, answers to my prayers seemed to be miraculously delivered to my door step at almost DHL speed. It was fun in those days praying for five or ten minutes and then seeing the answer almost immediately. It made me confident in praying and built my confidence in God which I what I think he wanted to do in me by the way.
Eventually however, the more I grew in my walk with God, the more I had to wait for certain answers. While some still came almost instantly, most of the answers I craved for seemed to have developed a cold and were keeping away with frustrating precision and a blatant disregard for my time.
I’m at that point where almost all my prayers now seem to go unheeded.
The first time I didn’t get answers to my prayers, the first thought that came to my mind was ‘what sin had I committed now?
It’s kind of an automatic response I carried around with me from my worldly days. I had a guilt complex then and blamed myself for nearly everything that went wrong in my life and the lives of people I was close to. Now I know better.
While sin does keep us from getting our prayers answered, it isn’t the only hindrance. Besides, as a growing Christian, I have learned to make repentance as constant a habit as breathing. The blood of Jesus is there for a reason and that is to cleanse us from all unrighteousness and make sure that our link to God is stronger than ever.
These days, making sure that I have genuinely repented of all my sins gives me confidence to stand before God in faith for that prayer whose answer seems to be a long time coming.
Another reason why our prayers can go unanswered is our attitude. Praying for a new job when we come in for work at ten in the morning isn’t exactly going to make God wheel in a new one that fast. Sometimes, there are certain negative things we learn about ourselves in the place of unanswered prayer that with careful self examination under the light of God’s word and through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can turn to strengths.
As a budding Christian, I used to throw tantrums when I didn’t get my prayers answered. I would deliberately turn my back on God and go watch some movie I knew he didn’t approve of or keep malice with him (imagine that!). I’m sure God is constantly amused by my little dramatic flairs of pouting when I put them up, but did that get me the answers? You can bet it didn’t!

So after several failed pouting sessions, I realized I can’t get God to jump the way some parents jump when their kids start sulking or throwing tantrums. God isn’t some insecure parent who needs to buy my love or affection with sweet treats or that new toy he can’t afford. God, I’ve discovered, cares more about my character than my comfort. The ultimate goal of his relationship with us is to make us more and more like him; godly, holy, loving, compassionate, forgiving….
God isn’t impressed when I stamp my foot in the ground and huff and puff. In fact, in those moments I can almost hear him say, ‘when you’re done fooling around, you know where I’ll be.’
Inevitably I always have to come back and apologize, then take his hand to continue the journey on the straight and narrow.
Getting answers to our prayers is all good but what good does it do when it doesn’t change who we are?
What good is that answered prayer when it doesn’t give God the glory?
What good are the answered prayers when it can’t make people around you know God as their father too?
I think Christians have gotten o the point where they see God as a gambling machine: you put in quarter and if you play real hard, you may hit a jackpot.
There are no chances with God only plans and the bible says that his plans and his purpose are forever.
Right now, I’m working for a company that hasn’t paid salaries for quite a while, but God has been faithful. I haven’t starved to death and I still manage to look pretty good!
I’m praying for a new job for over a year and I’m backing it with some action.
The rent on my home is way overdue and the agent has given me a deadline that I can’t physically meet but I’ve been trusting God and I’m still trusting him to take care of it.
I’d like to quit my job and I’ve been praying they I’ll get paid outstanding salaries so I can get by while I throw myself into the grind.
I want to get married to the man of my dreams but my father won’t have any of it so I’ve been praying about that for some time as well.
I’ve got a table filled with petitions and prayers and no answer so far has made it back to me.
I’m sharing this with you all because I’ve observed that the times are really trying now especially for most believers. This is a period of refining and separation; holding on to God’s word even when it looks like it’s not worth a lick of salt is what will help you sail through to the other side.
The word of God says that we are garrisoned by God’s power through our faith in him (1st Peter 1:5)
Without our faith in God we have nothing, absolutely nothing. We can trust in man for a while but I’m sure we all have bitter recounts of how our faith in the arm of flesh has let us down when we need it the most. No matter how hard it may seem to trust God right now because of what you’re going through, you have to understand that he is the only way.
As you walk through this dark trying time, get through it by asking God what he wants you to learn while you wait for his plan to come to the light.
Personally I know that this string of unanswered prayers is God’s way of teaching me patience while he works things out according to his will and for his glory. I am sure that I will receive amazing answers when they finally come and you will be the first I share it with. You can rest assured as the Holy Spirit is assuring me, that all things work together for good unto those who love God and are called according to his purpose.