Tag Archives: Daily Devotional

Unanswered Prayers

Some of God’s greatest blessings may be in unanswered prayers.  That may not be theologically correct…exactly.  Unanswered prayer is what we are feeling sometimes, not the reality of what is happening in the heavenlies.  There are many Biblical references that substantiate that God hears every prayer and knows every intent and motive in our hearts.  It’s just that when we do not experience any outward sign of our petition that we think that perhaps God did not hear.  But because He loves us in a deeper way than we can comprehend, sometimes He holds back.  It is restrained grace.

God the Father 16

God the Father 16 (Photo credit: Waiting For The Word)

Sometimes our prayers are focused on the surface – changes that we believe would make our lives go on a little easier.  The requests no doubt line up with God’s will.  We pray for people in our lives and the choices made that cause them harm, ourselves included.  But sometimes it is in the waiting, the longing, even the suffering that His restrained grace has it’s full effect.

The Apostle Paul, when going through a troubling time wrote these words:

We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia.  We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.  In fact we expected to die.  But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves, and learned to rely only on God…We placed our confidence in Him, and He will continue to rescue us.  II Corinthians 1:8-9a,10b

 

English: Saint paul arrested

English: Saint paul arrested (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Our lives are messy.  God is not any less loving than the parent or grandparent that steps back and allows the learning to take place, knowing it is for our ultimate good.  God’s plans and purposes are so much deeper than ours, and His restrained grace is always full of meaning and care.

In Psalm 77 the writer lamented:

When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord.  All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted.”

But later in the Psalm when the writer regained his composure and insight he wrote:

But then I recall all you have done, O Lord;  I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.  They are constantly in my thoughts.  I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.

Both the Apostle Paul and the Psalmist recognized the mind game that unanswered prayer seems to be.  However God doesn’t play mind games.  It is a mental and emotional challenge for us and step of obedience for us to accept with trust His restrained grace for our good and His glory.  Paul in his troubled time learned to rely on God.  The Psalmist comprehended the importance of mentally reviewing how God had been faithful in the past and his thought patterns changed as a result.  He was able to see that, this too, is still in the hands of the Almighty.

May that which concerns your heart be committed to His restrained grace, and may you experience that day when the tears are ended with the night and you know the full joy of the morning.  Hang in there.

 

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Accepting Changes in the Seasons of Life

What time is it?  How would you label this season of your life?

When I was on staff at a large church one of the many aspects to my work was to interview people who had taken a “Spiritual Gifts” class to see their best fit for service in ministry.  Spiritual gifts fascinate me and I was continually in awe of how the God of the universe would create such unique individuals each with a one-of-a kind mix of life experiences, gifts, talents and heart for serving others.

One of the questions I would ask had to do with how one approaches life in terms of either being spontaneous or rather structured – consistent and preferring routines.  I would be the latter being a ‘creature of routine’ and having some form of equilibrium in the consistency of how I approach life.  For those of you like me, change is probably especially against our grain.  But I am reminded of this amazing section of Scripture and the profound truth in each statement:

For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under hearven.
A time to be born and a time to die,
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Are you feeling a bit unsettled by some recent changes?  There is a breath of fresh air in knowing that God designs our life with seasons and they are different – and that is o.k.  We would always prefer the seasons of laughter and dancing to the times of crying and grieving, but they are all components of a healthy life.  I believe that one can laugh with greater veracity and dance joyfully with all out abandonment having traveled through times of heart-rendering grief with tear-stained pillows.  Knowing the depths of sorrow gives release to the times of happiness.

Recently I shared this portion of Scripture as we buried a friend.  Hers was a long good life and she knew the Lord personally – there was peace about her eternal security.  Yet, with the release of everyone we love there is that grief, albeit with hope, until we reach heaven ourselves.  There the seasons will change.  When we reach heaven there is something new in store:

Look, God’s home in now among His people.  God Himself will be with them.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.  All these things are gone forever.

Revelation 21:3b-4

This is a great hope to which we can look forward.  Until then we learn to accept the seasons of change.  Ultimately, as believers we can look forward to that eternal party, where the ebb and flow of seasons melt into rapturous times of joy.  There is hope ahead for the one who has placed his or her faith in Christ.

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