Is there such a thing as unanswered prayer? This devotional by Karen Wolff of Christian-Books-for-Women.com suggests that every prayer is indeed answered by God, just not always in the way we expect.
The Unanswered Prayer:
It is truly a spiritually mature person who never considers a prayer unanswered. How do they do that? There is so much in life that just seems to happen, regardless of how much we pray.
Our daughter, a 23 year old, special needs young woman, dreams of so many things in her life. She wants what we all want: happiness in life. But the challenges she faces are larger than any you can imagine.
I remember when she was born. At one pound, seven ounces, she arrived three months early. The doctors said she wouldn't see, hear, and probably would have cerebral palsy. But after she was home for about a month we knew the doctors were wrong. Today she hears, (although I know she has selective hearing based on the number of chores she's supposed to be doing), she sees out of one eye, and doesn't have cerebral palsy.
But developmentally she is delayed and life is hard for her.
I've prayed for our daughter more than any other person in my life. I've prayed that she would be healed completely. I've prayed that she would receive wisdom and strength and the ability to discern in life situations. It seems like many of those prayers have gone unanswered. But are they really unanswered or is God using our daughter's life to stretch my faith?
Everyone has people in their life that God uses to make changes in them. I can honestly say our daughter is that person for me. In fact, some days I feel like he's inventoried me, found every imaginable defective part, and then sends in my daughter to help "bring them out of me." It's that "bringing out" part that causes the trouble.
I heard Joyce Meyer, one of my favorite teachers, say that we always pray for God to change our circumstances when God actually uses our circumstances to change us. I must say that yes, I've been changed. God has used our daughter's situation to develop patience, (at least most days), trust, and faith that he's got a plan no matter how things look.
Okay, so I've asked God if I can give him input about how the plan should turn out. And yes, I've asked him to send a timetable just so we're all on the same page. I'm pretty sure I saw God rolling his eyes about that last one.
There is a song by Mercy Me called, "Bring the Rain." When I first heard that song I couldn't even imagine how much spiritual maturity it would take for someone to sing:
- Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free.
Bring me anything that brings You glory.
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain,
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain.
I don't know many people who are at that place in their journey. As I see my faith stretched daily, I hope I can eventually come to the place where I can say, "God, I want what you want. If what I want isn't what you want, then change my mind."