Have you ever prayed and asked God to do something in your life and He didn’t do what you expected? How do you handle that? How can we pray in faith, expecting, not receive an answer, and still believe that God is there and cares? When we don’t get the response we want, what went wrong? Why do we sometimes pray for good things and God is remarkably silent?
I begged God to stop the abuse, to kill my father, to kill me, to rescue me. God didn’t answer my prayers the way I wanted. When I began my journey of healing, I gave God the roadmap and path I felt I should take. He chose a different path and did things in His own timing.
When God did not respond to my prayers the way I expected, I grew angry at God because I felt He abandoned me. He denied me the specific answers I desired so I assumed He didn’t care. In retrospect, I realize He answered my prayers in surprising ways and His answer was better than anything I could think or imagine.
The problem was, I wanted God to conform to my plans. By trying to get Him to fit into my mold I was diminishing God. If I could force God to do my will, it would limit His power in my life. Now, when problems and challenges loom, I’m grateful that God is bigger than my limited ideas and His plans are more creative than anything I could imagine.
We see with limited vision. There is no way we have the total picture. We can know our reactions to things but we don’t know all the other factors that come into play in our circumstances.
Navigating life is like walking through a maze. We know some things about the path we are taking, but not the complete layout of the maze. At intersections in our life, do we turn left or right? If only we could be raised above the maze, it would be easy to decide the correct path to take. God has greater understanding of our lives than we can have with our own understanding. When we take the time to listen to Him, we make fewer wrong turns.
Let God be God. He can direct our paths with His infinite knowledge. We have the choice to trust Him or not.
Before we talk more about expectations, there are two questions to consider.
1) Have you ever prayed fervently for something and it wasn’t provided? Then, later you were glad that God didn’t answer that prayer.
I can think of a few love interests God did not let develop. Instead, He led me to Jim. We just celebrated our twenty-fifth anniversary and have three wonderful children.
2) Has God ever surprised you with an answer to prayer that gave you far more than you expected?
God led me to a Bible study, and the teacher of that study was the pastor who helped me to begin healing from my past. I only asked God for a good Bible study and He provided so much more.
Tomorrow we are going to talk about productive expectations and expectations that hinder our lives.
I pray you have a wonderful day.