Tuesday, April 21, 2015

When God Doesn't Seem to Answer

Dear Friends,

Often, one of the reasons we stop praying is that we’re disappointed with the whole concept of prayer.  When we urgently request something form God, and He doesn’t come through for us, we feel hurt and even betrayed that our prayers have not been answered.  That’s what happened to me when I was small.

I remember that first urgent attempt to call on the Almighty.  The need arose when I became aware that someone was trying to kill me!  The Second World War was in full swing, and I had the misfortune to live in Liverpool, a dangerous place.  Ships supplying us with food from our allies brought their precious cargo to this seaport, making it a target for the enemy.  I was very young, but I was aware that there was a God in heaven, and somewhere deep down in my heart I knew He was perfectly capable of stopping wars and conflicts.  I decided one day that I would ask Him to stop these terrible airplanes from dropping bombs all over my life.

That night the air raids were particularly vicious.  While we were huddled in our underground shelter like little moles, I confidently asked God to intervene.  The answer came immediately: The bomb dropped far too near for comfort, damaging the back of our house and sending us running for shelter in the safer environs of the English Lake District.  What went wrong? I asked myself furiously, trying in my six-year-old mind to make sense out of this nonsense.  Had God not heard?  Had I said my prayer with the wrong words or in the wrong way?  Then came the unwelcome thought: Perhaps God didn’t hear me because He was too busy doing other things, like keeping the stars in place. And last came the worst thought: Maybe He couldn’t help me because He couldn’t help me.  He wasn’t big enough or strong enough.

Well, one way or another my fervent request had been ignored, and a huge sense of betrayal gripped me.  Somewhere deep down in my six-year-old heart I determined not to try again.  Not a few adults have faced similar dilemmas.  At first disappointment they quit without finding out what is happening and what makes prayer work.

If this is the case, the first thing we should do is pray about this.  In fact, we should pray about anything that hinders our prayer life.  You might want to stop this moment and ask the Lord to identity whatever has caused you to stop talking to Him.  Then, when you have an inkling of what the blockage has been, talk to Him about it.

Prayer, after all, is the speaking part of our relationship with God.  Our relationship with Him depends upon our birth, while our fellowship—the quality of our relationship—depends upon our behavior.  We must be born of God—“born again”—to be able to talk to God as His children in the first place.  After that, our fellowship will be determined by our behavior.  Stuart and I have two sons and a daughter.  Our blood runs in their veins.  Our relationship with them depends upon their birth.  If they mess up, our fellowship may be disrupted, but they will always be our children—our estranged children perhaps, but still our children.  We always want to hear from them.


Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine

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