When we ask God for something, we often have a firm image of how He should answer us. The danger with this image is that it can prevent us from seeing that God has answered us, but in another way.
We only have to look at the sublime nature that surrounds us to realize that our God is very creative! He created animal species that live underwater that no one will ever see. There are flowers growing in environments so hostile to humans that no one can admire them. God has ideas that go beyond our intelligence. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways,” says Yahweh” (Isaiah 55:8 WEB). It’s good to tell God our desires and what we prefer, but when it comes time to respond to our needs, we do not need to suggest solutions to God: He knows better than us how to do so.
We have all heard the story of a man who was surprised by a flash flood. He took refuge on the roof of his house and prayed to God to save him. One of his neighbors came to him with a small boat and offered to take him to safety. The man refused, saying that he was waiting for God’s help. Professional rescuers came with a zodiac, but the man refused to leave his roof: he was waiting for God’s help. Then a helicopter sent by the army came to get him out and he also refused their help, claiming he was waiting for God’s help. Then, he drowned. When he got to heaven, he complained to God, “Why didn’t you save me?” God said to him, “But I sent you a boat, a zodiac, and even a helicopter!”
We continue to act the same way with God. We have a huge debt and we pray that God will send us the money. Suddenly, we receive an offer to work on a side project. Since the work is difficult and full of inconveniences, we refuse it and continue to complain to God. Our Father has a thousand ways to save us: sometimes He can give us money, sometimes He can give us a job to make that money. It’s not up to us to choose the solution! We must listen to him and follow His direction.
A woman wanted to lose weight and asked God to help her. Her appetite started to drop dramatically, but she didn’t listen to her body’s signals and kept eating beyond her needs. So, she kept gaining weight. God had answered her prayer, but she was not listening. Or, we can ask God to use us for the advancement of His Kingdom and our pastor teaches on a Sunday that his church needs volunteers at the daycare. We agree to pray for God to send volunteers to take care of them, instead of volunteering ourselves! In Luke 10:2, Jesus told His disciples to ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers into His field, and the next verse Jesus sent His disciples! What a quick answer to a prayer!
What if God had already answered your prayer for a life partner? In our ministry, my husband and I have met several singles who complained about not being married. However, we have met men who could have been married a long time ago, but they did not feel like putting in the effort to change their little flaws to become pleasant. “She’ll accept me as I am, if not too bad!” Well, they are still alone. We have seen a few women complaining about being alone while having a male best friend. “Why not him?”, we asked them. “Oh no, he does not have a good job: I want to marry a doctor or an architect.” It’s not that God is not answering our prayers, it’s us not liking His answer!
Sometimes God answers our prayer to meet a great person by opening an opportunity for us to serve Him. By refusing to serve in this way, we miss a good opportunity to meet people. “In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6 WEB). The verse here does not say “make known to God your solutions”, but your needs. Leave the solution to God.
If this message made you realize that you have indeed missed some great opportunities, what can you do? Begin by repenting from your stubbornness and pride, and choose from now on to do the steps that God tells you to do. It’s never too late to start with God again. You will have lost time in this, and maybe great opportunities, but look forward and enter your calling.