does god answer prayers

Category : Matthew, different, faith, fear, living a life of faith, trust

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks,  the door will be open.  Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?” (Matthew 7: 7-11)

Sometimes I think that just because I ask God for something I should get it.  And when I don’t, I’m shocked.  “How can God not answer my prayers?!” I cry out.  But as I read the story of Israel, I have to wonder, is that what’s really happening?

I’ve talked about how the trip to the Promised Land was only an 11 day trek.  Yet it took the Israelites 40 years to make it.  Why?  Not because God hadn’t answered their prayers of salvation (he had, even though they constantly doubted).  But because God knew that if the Israelites went directly to the Promised Land they would have been destroyed by what they found.

As it turns out it was the struggle of the journey that allowed them to become strong enough to enter the Promised Land.  It was their suffering which strengthened them.  It was their growing relationship with God that allowed them to have the faith necessary.  And once they were ready, or perhaps I should say, only when they were ready, did God open that door.

If Israel had avoided the disaster of 40 years in the wilderness, they would have experienced complete destruction at the hands of their enemies.  We are so quick to assume that God has abandoned us, when we don’t know all the facts.

The band, Since October has a song called disaster that really drives this home:

thank God for disaster
disaster and tears
thank God for my reasons
my reasons to fear
every time that I’ve lost it all and death is calling me
i understand this is what saved my life again

It is hard for me to remember that God often says “yes”, but it takes time for that “yes” to become a reality.  Living in a world of “lose 6 pounds in 6 days” and Instant Ramen Noodles it is hard for me to be patient.  I don’t like to wait for things.  But as the Israelites learned, sometimes waiting is the only way to get where you want to go.

Perhaps I should spend less time whining to God, and more time trusting and believing in God.  Perhaps I should spend less time avoiding problems, and more time thanking God for disaster.

why does God take so long?

Category : Exodus, God, faith, hope, trust

  

Why can’t God just answer my prayers?

I wonder that all the time. 

I mean he is all powerful.  How hard can it be to snap his fingers and just make something happen?  I don’t see what the issue is.

And that, I think, is the answer.  No matter how much we know, there are simply some things that we can never know.  For instance, we can never know what would happen if we went to a different college, married a different person, or slept through our alarm.  Well that last one might get you fired.  But in general we will never know the road not taken.  

The interesting thing is, God does know.  He’s fully aware of what would happen if things went differently.  When God promised Israel their own land, I’m sure some of them thought, “well why can’t we have it all at once.”  To me that doesn’t seem like an unreasonable question.  God did, after all, promise it to them.  

Yet there were things that Israel couldn’t know.  There were things they probably never even thought of.  Fortunately God had, “But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.” (Exodus 23: 29-30)

God knew their lives would be harder, not easier if he simply gave them everything they wanted.  I wonder what I am impatient for, and God is saying “Be patient, trust me, you aren’t ready for this yet.  But you will be.”