- 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Over the last eleven months, I have prayed some variation of the following: “Lord, I trust and believe that today will be the day you set me free, restore my fortunes and favor me personally, financially and professionally.” Every day, for the last eleven months that prayer has been met by silence. Maybe there is something you have prayed for - healing for you or a loved one, restoration of a relationship, relief from a traumatic situation or a professional opportunity that has gone unanswered. During those times, it becomes easy to doubt God’s sovereignty. When in doubt, God says for us to remember the things He has done in the past. If He saved, healed and provided for you before, He will surely do it again. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He alone is God and there is none like Him.
If you have ever had a prayer go unanswered, you are in good company. Some of the great patriarchs in the Bible from Job to Paul and even Jesus himself have had prayers go unanswered. God’s “silence” is never what it seems. He is only silent when we are out of alignment with His will, to teach us about His grace and when He wants to exceed our expectations.
Have you ever had your praise report turn into your prayer request? Have you ever pursued and celebrated a job, relationship or opportunity only to turn around and ask God to deliver you from it? This happens when we pursue our own plans for our life instead of relying on God. For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. If the job, relationship, promotion, etc. is not what God has planned for you then do not be discouraged when you do not receive it or when you lose it. Instead, learn to praise God for those unanswered prayers. Praise Him for all the no-good people, toxic work environments and mistakes He saved you from. Through prayer, thanksgiving and supplication align your plans and desires with God’s and watch Him do some amazing things in your life.
Now, while I am fortunate the Lord uses our problems and trials to strengthen us. I sometimes wish He would use less dramatic methods. It becomes frustrating when we declare no weapon formed against us shall prosper though they appear to be prospering. I imagine that is how the Apostle Paul felt when he asked God on three different occasion to take away his problems and God declared, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Sometimes we are quick to try to go from one season of our life to another. Instead of trying to rush God, learn to live patiently off His grace. When we rely on God’s grace and not our own selfish desires, we open ourselves up to receive the things He has for us.
Once you align your plans with God’s and learn to live off His Grace then you will be ready to receive the overflow of blessings, He has for you. Through my trials, I learned that God did not answer my prayers and meet me at my expectations because He wants to exceed them. “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. God oftentimes does not give us what we pray for because He has something much better for us! We must learn to get out of our own way and trust that God will give us the abundant life He promised.