Saturday, January 31, 2015
People ask Peg and me to pray for them or their loved ones all the time. So we do. Over time, I have come to believe that God answers all of them the way He wants, which is not always the way we want the outcome. This is especially so if you look through human emotions at whatever the outcome may be. But even if some look like failures, especially if the one you might be praying for dies, while others are deemed to be successful ... that doesn't mean God's will in all of them wasn't accomplished.
God said … "Call upon Me and I will answer." You can find that in Psalms 91:15.
But Lord ... that's not the outcome I wanted. So God reminds me of Isaiah 55:8-9 where He says …
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts."
Each of His purposes shall be accomplished, no matter what is in the heart and mind of man concerning how we want prayer answered. It will be His will, done His way, in His time.
1st Corinthians 2:16 … "For who has known or understood the mind and purposes of the Lord …"
We must come to understand that His purposes and thoughts, as He has shaped and drawn the image of things in His own mind; everything that is … "is" ... determined by the Lord; that nothing comes by chance, but everything is as it is … purposed by God, and that everything comes to pass which He has resolved and spoken.
Therefore ... every solution to prayer, and every answer … proceeds from Him, and is the product of His wisdom and Providence.
I believe that God is ultimately responsible … for everything. He made all things, and He has never lost possession or control over them. The Psalmist David states in Psalms 24:1 …
"The earth is the LORD's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein."
The Psalmist David, knowing from experience that he could call upon God, proclaimed many times that God answered his call. He gives testimony to that in Psalms 34:4-9 as he says ...
"I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him."
My mother taught me there is only one way to pray; and I quote … "I pray every time like I'm going to get it, and whether I do or not is up to God."
So … what happens if we don't get the answer we are looking for when we pray?
We should have enough confidence in God to believe that all His dealings are ordered from a heart of love. What if … He takes away our possessions, and/or visits us with pain, will we lose all our confidence in Him? Do we submit to all of the sovereign providence of God without a complaint ... only during good times … or even when natural events are sent in their place?
We breathe the air which God has made, walk upon His earth, and eat the food He provides; but if and when He takes one or all away ... do we feel that He has taken only what belongs to Him … of which we have no right or claim to anyway?
The question is what do we do ... not if trouble comes, but when trouble comes ... for none of us are immune from the problems in life. Is our confidence in the Lord enough to say what David said in Psalms 86:7 ...
"In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou will answer me."
It is useless to call or cry for help to those who cannot or will not hear. Convince men that prayer has no effect upon God ... and they will have no more of it. There can be no reason for praying if there be no expectation of the Lord answering it.
The duty then which is taught, is that of patience, perseverance, faith in God, and a belief ... that He answers our cry for help … though many times the answer to our prayers seem to be long delayed and slow to come.
There may be some men who try to "will" something through prayer; others may try to receive their answer through "running" or earning it. He is not obligated to answer prayer because of anything man wills or earns.
Paul teaches this in Romans 9:15-16 … "For He (God) saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy."
God has the right to give mercy to some, and deny it to others; and He can never be charged with an act of injustice, since He is not bound to give it to any.
So, what conclusion then can we come to?
That God can dispense His blessings in answer to prayer to whomever He wants and with what terms He pleases, for God is always just and right in all His dealings with His children.
God governs the world as He sees fit; but we cannot always see the reasons for His conduct or know why He answers some prayers and not others.
God said … "Call upon Me and I will answer."
David said ... "Blessed is the man that trusteth in Him."
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