Ever feel like your prayers are not being heard? Like something is blocking those heartfelt desires from getting much beyond the ceiling of the room or the clouds in the sky?
Like God really doesn’t care, if He is up THERE at all?
If you do have those thoughts and feelings or ones like them, you may feel reassured in knowing that you are not alone. In our nation and around the world today, there seems to be an ever-increasing intense skepticism about the existence of God and His involvement in our lives.
And the question that I have heard repeated on the lips of old and young like is: How could a good and loving God whom you say cares for us and is in control of everything allow all the tragedy, the terrorism, the natural disasters, and yes, even the personal illnesses and hardships around us to wreak so much devastation in so many lives?
That question resounds throughout the hallways of history as down through the years generation after generation have faced similar issues and thoughts about the care of God for His people in times of trial and tragedy and hardship and difficulty.
And that question was very much like the question that the disciples asked Jesus one night as they were all attempting to sail across the Sea of Galilee.
“Teacher, don’t you care that we are perishing?” These words came from the lips of weary and worn and frightened disciples – tired and defeated while trying to battle the storm which seemed to rip the heart and soul right out from the grasp of these wizened experienced fishermen. They had tried their best and their best wasn’t good enough to help them get through it all, and Jesus just simply was sleeping in the back of the boat! (Check out Mark 4:35-41).
They had lost all hope of surviving in this moment, and were desperately trying anything else they might have overlooked. They did not understand what Jesus could do, and what His actions would bring about.
The text tells us that, after they woke Him up, they asked him the question, and He simply said, “Peace, be still.” And then there was calm and quiet! These disciples didn’t understand that Jesus ALWAYS answers prayer – ALWAYS!
Even when we don’t know what we are asking Him to do! They came to Him with a simple question. And did He ever answer! They did not understand the answer!
They could not fathom his answer – the quiet and sudden calm of the sea! But God answered their prayers even though they weren’t quite sure that they really asked for the storm to be calmed. In fact, I am convinced that all they expected of Jesus was for Him to help them bale water out of the boat!
God’s desire for our lives and for our prayer life is for us to expectantly look to Him for answers to our prayers. In fact, He wants us to be on the lookout for answers that are creative and “outside the box” – which is more an expression of OUR rebellion than His!
He wants us to be ready for calm seas rather than just survival on the high seas! And the last question He really wants to hear from us is “God, don’t you care?” The answer is emphatically YES; He just wants us to trust Him to answer our need in His own creative and, yes, kind, way.
Would it help to see a current example of how God answers prayer? One pastor shares the following story regarding that very subject:
“Last night a woman in our church told how God had just given her success on a large, important project at work. She is a website architect working for a big downtown bank. She was hired specifically to upgrade their site’s interface for those with disabilities. But everyone with whom she directly worked told her: You can’t do this. You will fail. You don’t have the necessary intelligence for this. She agreed. She didn’t know how to do it.
“No one knew how to do what the bank was asking. One technician told her he could not do in a year even part of what the company was asking to be done in six months. These were uncharted waters. She feared what would happen if she failed. That she would lose her job and have to move away.
“So she called out to God. All day long, every day, she prayed fervently over every detail, every web page, every line of code. She literally wept and prayed. She felt small and vulnerable, but she also had fierce conviction that God was great enough to help her with an impossible job. She kept crying out to God day after day, planning functionalities, writing code, telling her team of developers what to do. Day after day she received wisdom for one piece of the project after another. Every step and idea was a discovery.
“Week after week, one piece, one page, one functionality of the website after another came together. Months passed and the progress continued. The hand of God was upon her, and he blessed her entire team. With the deadline approaching they were ready to release their work. They were ready to go live with approximately eighty new web pages of cutting edge technology. On the day of release they discovered one minor problem, just one easily fixed bug. But everything else worked flawlessly.” (Craig Brian Larson, Chicago, Illinois; Craigbrianlarson.com, “The Impossible Job”)
No matter what you are going through, whether sickness, job change, or other personal issue, even difficulties on the job, just remember that God is there!
His only desire is that we would put the issues of life in His hands, let Him be God and simply trust Him for the results! That’s what faith is all about!
Won’t you trust Him with the answers to your prayers?
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the Hillsboro Times-Gazette and the Wilmington News Journal. He is also the former Pastor of Faith Community Church in Hillsboro and Port William UMC.