Friday, 17 April 2009

Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?

#4: God has got something better planned

“Sorry, but you have been unsuccessful.” “We don’t want you.” “The other applicants are better than you.” “You don’t have what it takes.”

You can just about accept rejection for the first or second job you apply for, but you get pretty fed up as the count slips past ten, and by the time refusal number fifteen came along I was fairly pissed off. Eighteen years of education, working my yo-yo’s off for a decent degree & pouring £s into further education to be rejected on an almost daily basis from the job you want to do is not pleasant.

My prayers changed from pleasantly asking God for a job, to desperately pleading for one, to getting angry with Him for His silence & the prospect of a lifetime’s service for the Golden Arches.

But after months of application forms, polished interview techniques, rejection letters & “failed” prayer requests, God fired me a curve ball of a career move into youth ministry. I went kicking & screaming and can only be grateful that He’d already employed the “swallowed-by-a-big-fish-method” of attention grabbing before.

Yet 6 years after this messy & irritating period in my life, I see that God did not want me to be a human resource manager. In fact, I don’t want to be & am delighted that I am not called to play this role. Those unanswered prayers which seemed like a curse have become the very platform upon which I have discovered joy in myself, my God & my work. I love (at least most of the time) the opportunity to play a small & hopefully positive role in the development of teenagers & young adults.

Sometimes I have to admit that God is smarter than me, that He really does know what is best for our lives & that He is bigger than both my understanding & desires.

Sometimes I have to remember & believe God’s Word when He says, “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Or plumb the depths of a promise such as, “God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around, but by His Spirit deeply & gently within us” (Ephesians 3:20-21).

Some prayers are not answered because God is good & smarter than us.

“We shall come one day to a heaven where we shall gratefully know that God’s great refusals were sometimes the true answers to our truest prayers.” P.T. Forsythe in The Soul of Prayer

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