Monday, August 20, 2007

God didn't keep His end of the bargain

When we pray with all our heart for something, and it just doesn't happen, what do we feel? An unmarried woman praying for a husband; a woman struggling with infertility and crying out to God; a family praying for the healing of a dear sweet child; what are they supposed to do, when they feel their prayers have been left unanswered?

I know several people in such situations; they turn to God, and from the sacred deeps of their hearts, they beg: 'Please, dear God. Just let it happen. My life is worthless if you won't make it happen'. And sometimes the childless are left childless, the unmarried walk the path of life alone despite all their efforts, and our loved ones leave us. I know people who have distanced themselves from God because they feel He hasn't been listening to them. 'I was faithful, I was a true believer, I prayed… but He didn't keep His end of the bargain!'

I believe that this attitude comes from perceiving God as someone who is inclined to punish us, someone harsh and merciless, rather than the kind, loving Father He is to all of us. Our souls are laid out in front of him like an open book. He didn't bring us into this world for a life of misery. He wants us to be happy, contented, industrious and productive.

Does it mean we will always get what we want? No.

There have been several times in my life when I wanted something badly, up to the point when I thought I can't live without it. Then my wish came true and… it made me miserable! Yes, that very thing I pursued with every beat of my heart. The thing I claimed I can't live without. How can it be? Obviously, not everything we want is right for us. I remember when I was little, I told my mother that 'when I grow up I will have lots of money and will spend it all on sweets'… well, now that more than a few years have passed, I've realized I'm probably never going to have a lot of money – which doesn't bother me the least bit – and I will certainly not waste it all on sweets!

Suppose I will become a mother someday, God willing. Imagine me, some years from now, walking down the street with my adorable daughter. In the window of a large shop, she notices a Bratz doll, and begs: 'oh, please, Mommy, can I have this doll? Pretty please!'; I take a good long look and see that the doll does not bring out the qualities I want to instill in my daughter for the years to come: modesty and a sweet, quiet, nurturing spirit of a future wife and mother. But how can I properly explain this to a 5-year-old? She begs and pleads and eventually throws a tantrum, and in the end turns her little tear-stricken face towards me, and screams: 'I hate you!'

How this breaks a mother's heart. And how God must feel when He knows our bitterness and resentment towards Him. We choose what's best for our children. Sometimes we can explain our actions. Sometimes we know they will not understand until they've grown up. This is when we ask them to trust our judgment. Trust. This is the key word.

Sometimes it's difficult beyond measure; sometimes we just can't accept it. How can this be good, we ask? How can this be right? But we must learn to trust Him. This is probably the most important thing we will ever do.

24 comments:

USAincognito said...

Your last paragraph, "Sometimes it's difficult beyond measure; sometimes we just can't accept it. How can this be good, we ask? How can this be right? But we must learn to trust Him. This is probably the most important thing we will ever do." is definitely true. I think this is how I eventually drifted from God all those years ago and why it took so long for me to come back to Him. I had to learn and accept that He really knew what was best for me and that He really did love and care for me. I had to learn that His "no" was a good thing if only I would have the patience to wait and see why.

Kathleen said...

I think you are quite right, Anna!

Anonymous said...

Great illustration and great post! Thanks for this-- I needed it today.

And Bratz dolls are terrible. I hope they go away before I have children.

Emily said...

How oh true this is Anna; we must learn to trust God with all our hearts because He is our loving Father and knows exactly what's best for us. Also, God isn't here to serve us and our own desires - rather we are here to serve HIM and His purposes on the earth. When we put serving Him first, our desires begin to line-up with His, and we find we are satisfied and fulfilled in Him.

Thank you for posting this - I really needed to be reminded of this! Blessings to you :)

Mrs. Brigham said...

How true! There is no such thing as an "unanswered prayer". There is certainly prayers that are not answered as we would have liked, but God does not ignore us when we seek His counsel and guidance for life. I never realized how true this was until I went through my miscarriage in 2006. At first, I was very angry at God, but as time went on, I came to see why His plan was what it was. It still hurt badly, but it also made clear sense.

Anonymous said...

And it IS a hard thing to learn. I have known the disappointment of the kind you mentioned...receiving my heart's desire, & being miserable because of it! Episodes like that have taught me a little more patience...they have certainly brought me closer to God. He uses even my failings & clumsiness to turn me to Him!

Good post. Brenda

PandaBean said...

Tee hee, I typed this before I had finished reading your entire post! Think alike!

Something that people are very apt to forget is that God is our /Father/ and we are His /children/. Just because little Susie wants that dollhouse and thinks it would make her life absolute perfection, we as parents realize it may not be a good toy for her, perhaps it's Bratz or Barbie or another type that we don't agree with the message it sends. So we get her a better dollhouse (in our view), but it's not the one she wanted, so she is dissapointed and upset, she may even say "I hate you!" like a child can. Doesn't this seem like a senario (sp) that could easily be played out between us and God?
Say we really want that beautiful house on the other side of town; it's for sale really cheap, it looks gorgous, it seems to be exactly what we feel we need, so we pray and pray and pray. God gives the house to another and sends us a completely different house, or even an appartment. We can easily become upset and dissapointed that we didn't get our "dream house".

God is our Father, He knows what is best for us, even when it's a disaster or a devistating loss. There is always a lesson to be learned from life, it is up to us to try and figure out what it is.

God Bless!

MInTheGap said...

I think that sometimes we have a problem with God not providing everything we ask because we have a misconception of who God is. We like to think of Him as a great ATM machine in the sky where we can punch in a couple of prayers and get what we want.

In reality He's much more like you said-- He's a Heavenly Father who wouldn't give his child a stone for bread.

AnneK said...

There is a pretty radical statement that I heard at church one day. "Prayer changes nothing" Now everyone would be getting mad at me, but I agree with it. IF you are a true believer, you pray not for changing circumstances, but that God's will may be done irrespective of how you want the outcome to be. It is a hard thing to do. Because we see the immediate future and God sees the big picture. Yes, I want my eyesight back, but if its God's will that I learn something through this, I would not want to miss out on it. So then, why pray? Because prayer changes you and the one you are praying for. It brings you closer to God and let him work on your life. You get peace about your situation that you do not get from anywhere else.

Rebekah S. said...

Anna,

That was the best post!! Thank you so much for it!! I have come to learn that the Lord ALWAYS knows best and has my best interests at heart a better plan for me that I could ever make for myself.

I have sort of a testimony regarding this subject. Almost 2 and a half years ago, we moved from Texas (where I had lived all my life [of almost 13 years, at that point], where all my friends were, my family, memories, etc. I was furious. I did not want to leave, I was upset that the Lord was planning this of all things for me, etc. etc. But oh how I wish I would have trusted in Him!! I can't stress that enough!! Through this move, the Lord has grabbed a hold of my family and radically changed our convictions, we became introduced to Vision Forum, met Vision Forum minded people, and with those dear people, have now started a new church in the Chattanooga area. All my life I had been in traditional southern baptist churches-complete with youth groups, age segregated sunday school, etc etc. At the time of course, I didn't see anything wrong with that. But now, I see how inherently and completely wrong it is!! It's nothing by Feminism, Marxism, and humanism etc seeping into our churches. The Lord in His grace a mercy has chosen in His sovereign plan to rescue me from there and lead me into a wonderful new life-one with a trully Bible based church, a life of distinct femininity, Biblical daughterhood and womanhood, etc etc. And all of this came about because of the move which I so hated just some short 2 years ago. I only wish I could tell you that during the move I completely trusted in Him. I definitely did not, however, and was very very unhappy and angry. Now, however, I would not change my life and the move and the changes for anything at all in the world!!! Blessed be the name of the Lord! Praise Him that He did not allow me to stay in Texas and in the feministic beliefs I had! I will always be indebted to Him for His rich mercy and grace in taking me from where I was and placing me where I am now! How far better His plans are than ours!!! What a joy and blessed assurance it is to know that I can completely trust in Him, even when, at times, it may not seem like it. Thank you so much for your post, Anna!!

The Lord's richest blessings to you,

Rebekah Ann Shadoin

Rebekah S. said...

Anna, thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving me the kind comments!! I am completely new to the "blogosphere" and don't even know how to post pics on my blog. :) I am trying very hard to get the word out about my blog, and so it was a tremendous encouragement to me to see your comment!! Thank you for taking the time to do so! I was wondering if you would possibly be willing to place mine as one of the links on your blog? If you don't want to or can't, that's quite allright, but I want to get the word out, and so if you would do that, I would really appreciate it!! Also, please go back to my blog often, as there is a very exciting ministry idea for girls and young women that the Lord laid on my heart about 2 months ago. It is so exciting, and I will be posting about it on my blog sometime this week. So, please check back, and if you could, please tell all the bloggers you know to check it out as well. Thank you so very much for your help!! You are such an encouragement to me, as so often it seems as if there just aren't any other girls in the world that have your same convictions. But it has been such an encouragement to me to read your blog!! I can't thank you enough!

All for His glory
Rebekah Ann

Rebekah S. said...

Would it be ok if I posted some of your posts on my blog, as long as I list where the article originally appeared, who wrote it, and left a link to your blog? Just let me know if that would be ok.

Thanks!
Rebekah

Anna S said...

Annie,

So very true! After having several experiences of getting what I wanted - what I thought I *needed* - and being miserable because of it, I stopped leaning on my own understanding and now just pray for His will to be done.

Rebekah,

You can, certainly, quote and link to anything you want from my blog, you are most welcome to do so. :) I think your blog is really neat, and I think I will mention it and post a link in my nearest blogging announcement! ;)

When I started blogging, I thought I'd have only a few readers: some friends who live far away, and my dear cousin Maggie. I was perfectly happy with that; I have been keeping a journal for ages you know :) But then I started reading other people's blogs and commenting, and was blessed with 'getting to know' so many wonderful ladies online. Also, I think browsing through the 'help' section about how to post pictures, videos and so on could be good!

Ashley said...

Once upon a time I was a young woman with a crush on a man I thought was perfect for me. I could not understand why God did not bring us together. I was 100% sure there could not be a better choice, but I did decide to trust God, even if it meant being single.

Oh, my! Was I ever wrong! I am so happily married now, I just look back and I'm so thankful God didn't give me what I wanted! In my youth I thought we were 'perfect' for each other, but older and wiser and married to my true love I know better. I have also watched over the last six years the path the first young man has taken, and I think many of my dreams (homeschooling, etc) would have fallen by the wayside.

I am also due in November. In January, I miscarried a baby that would have been due in September. I do not understand all of the "why's" - but I do know that if I hadn't miscarried, I would have never known this baby I am carrying now. I believe that God gave me two children instead of one, and I simply have to wait until I leave this earth to meet one of them....

All of your posts are so good! And the kitten is adorable!

Anna S said...

Ashley,

This is precisely what I'm talking about; I've been in a similar situation. And I must say that my attitude, before I put my trust in God, was very dangerous.

Brenda said...

Oh my goodness you are right. How hard it is to trust b/c we think this tiny patch of earth we inhabit is EVERYTHING there is. We cannot see half the picture, but we think we know. God calls us to trust Him just as the Israelites in the desert. They couldn't store up manna until the next day. They had to go to bed each night trusting that God would supply their need the next morning.

Wendy WaterBirde said...

Oh wow was this a timely gift today! Opening to it today, just knew it was a co-in-see-dance (i think "coincidences are really God dancing with us). You see the past couple weeks i have been deeply stressed becuase my finace and i are now out thousands of dollars we had planned on (and needed), becuase he broke his arm and has been unable to work the whole season (he works on the sea, its seasonal) as planned. Two and a half months of work we'd counted on poof, plus his big end of the season bonus poof too. It was a huge blow.

Yet the past couple days i've been slowly seeing that it was actually an answer to a prayer, we both had been at a breaking point with having so many difficulties and being so far apart (his seasonal work is in another state) and deep down i think we both needed him to stop and come home, even though that wasnt what we had conciously prayed for. The broken arm wasnt God ignoring us, it was Him HEARING us, hearing us deeper and beyond our own words or awareness, i was thinking of this especially this morning. And then imagine my delight as i opened to your post on this very thing, it was such an affirmation! I'm so glad you posted this : )

Peaceful Week,

Wendy

Candy said...

Excellent post. I believe that God ALWAYS answers our prayers...might not be the answer we want :) hahaa
But He indeed does hear and answer every prayer. We may never ever know why we didnt get what we thought we needed or what we asked God for, but one day we will figure it out, once we meet Him face to face, Im sure then that we will understand it all. For now, we just have to trust that our Heavenly Father loves and cares for us so much and He always only wants the very, very best for us.
I enjoyed this post,

Candy

Susie said...

Anna,
My pastor has said, "God answers all prayers. Sometimes it's "yes" sometimes it's "no" and sometimes it's "not yet"." I guess it depends on how one would look at their prayer being answered.
~Susie

Mimi said...

Anna, thank you for your post...
you have reminded us that if we truly want to "Experience God" we have to Let Go and Let God Have His Way..
in order for Him to accomplish his purpose through us, we must be willing to accept his will for our lives (which by the way are sometimes not the same things that we would will for ourselves) but God knows the ultimate outcome and we do not!!!

JoAnn said...

Very well written post. And you are right, trust is probably one of the most important things. Thank you for such a good 'word picture'. :)
JoAnn

PandaBean said...

There's a Garth Brooks song: "Some of God's greatest gifts/ are unanswered prayers."

God Bless!

Melissa said...

Some wise person said: "Children need your presence more than your presents"
I couldn't agree more.
I really like your blog.
Keep up the good work!

Anna S said...

Thank you, Melissa! Nice to 'see' you here :)