If you’re in the habit of treating God like a vending machine, you’ve probably beat on the glass a few times when the answer to your prayer got stuck in the dispenser. Me, too. I’ve beat the glass, kicked the side and tried to tump the whole thing over (you Texans understand what I’m sayin’ – “How ’bout them Cowboys!“).
Problem is, it’s no use. You can’t tump God. If He’s got ahold of the answer to your prayer, He’s not going to let it go until He’s ready. Doesn’t matter how many coins you put into the slot.
But it might help you to know that God ALWAYS answers prayer. It may not be the answer you were hoping for, but it will be an answer nonetheless. There are just three answers He gives: “Yes,” “No” and “What’s Your Hurry?”
God gives “yes” answers whenever we ask something that is both in His will and in His time. Sometimes, this even includes parking spaces and lotto numbers, but I wouldn’t count on it. I’ve come to believe that God gives lots of “yes” answers to us early in our walk as a way of building our faith – even for silly stuff. But as we grow in Him, He makes us search Him out more, and this means we will get more…
These are tough, but they are easier to accept when you trust the heart of God. If you know that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28), even the “no” answers are blessings. When Garth Brooks “thank(s) God for unanswered prayers,” he’s talking about the “no’s.”
God has a list of reasons why He sometimes says no. They include (but are not limited to):
- We have sin that we haven’t dealt with.
- We ask out of bad motives.
- We don’t even ask.
- God has something better in mind for us.
- God has something better in mind for His Kingdom.
When God tells you “no,” you can resist, resent or rejoice. (Hint: Only one of these ever works.)
What’s Your Hurry? Answers
Much of the time, what we confuse for “no” answers are really just “what’s your hurry?” answers. God loves to say “yes” to us, but sometimes it’s just too early. He wants to give us the blessing, but we couldn’t handle it yet. (Think about all the people who have been ruined by fame and fortune because they didn’t have the wisdom to manage it well. Now thank God that you’re not one of them.) When we’ve matured, or when the conditions are right, the blessing will come.
So, ask God for the desires of your heart. And keep asking until you feel you’ve gotten an answer. (Sometimes I think God gives us the “what’s your hurry?” answer just so we’ll keep talking to Him.) God loves us and always wants the best for us, and He’s in a much better position to know what that is.