Tuesday, August 27, 2013

God's Answers

Are you ready for some honesty? Can you handle it if I share with you a real problem that I have? Don't think bad of me, but sometimes I get very frustrated because my prayers seem ineffective. I know that God is out there somewhere, but it seems that he is not listening to me. I am sure that there are times- sometimes it seems like weeks, months or years- when he doesn't answer at all. The Bible teaches me that God is there, that he cares about me, that he listens to my prayers and that he always answers me. But in reality, it doesn't always feel like that.
So, what can I do? How does God speak to me? What can I know for sure about God and his answers to my prayer? I think that there are many ways that God answers us, but his response to our prayers generally fall in only a few categories.
  • Go. There are times when God answers right away. He looks at my life and blesses me. There are times when my desires are consistent with God's will and he gives me an answer to my prayers that is resoundingly affirmative. I can be certain that God is in charge and that he is encouraging me to move forward.
  • Slow. There are other times when I think I know what is best, but it just doesn't work for the Lord. He may support the idea that I am praying for, but the timing is off. Maybe I need to work on my relationship with God, or with others, or even with myself, but his answer to me is “not yet.” This doesn't mean that God is telling me know, or even that he is not answering at all. It means that God is trying to work on patience in my life. There will be an answer, but I have to wait. I can proceed, but I need to be sure that I am operating on God's time.
  • Whoa. Sometimes I get ahead of God. I have a great idea, or at least I think its a great idea, but God is not quite ready for it yet. I need to stop what I am doing, at least for a season. I may get to go again, but not now.
  • No. Brace yourself. This is the answer that we usually don't want to hear. But there are situations in which we need to pay attention to God's denials. But remember this, when he says no, it is always because there is something better that God has in mind for us.
  • I don't know. One point of clarification here: God knows everything. His answer is never “I don't know.” But, often we think the answer is I don't know. Almost always, when we think the answer is I don't know, we can find God speaking one of the other answers to us.

Today, you may be frustrated because you are not hearing from God, or at least you are not hearing what you want from God. Know that he is speaking to you. Remember that there are many answers that he might be giving. As you pray, ask God to help you hear his voice, even if he is saying something you don't want to hear.

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