I remember praying for someone when I was a teenager. I prayed and prayed. I had head knowledge that God was able, but I always figured the answer would be somewhere in the future.
A couple of years later the prayer was answered. The solution was a complete one. The result was perfect.
Are you surprised when God shows up to answer your prayers? Are you also surprised at how He chooses to answer them?
Flash-forward about 20 years and my expectation of God answering my prayers changed quite a bit. Why? One day when I really needed Him, God showed up almost immediately.
About a week earlier, another child had picked on one of the boys. It wasn’t the first time this child had done that either. Unfortunately, I had been less than nice when I spoke with the child’s mother who should have seen what happened since she was sitting right there. A week later, the opportunity for another incident between the boys was approaching, and I was not sure what to do.
God’s answer was not something that I had even considered, nor would I have. I thought the solution He provided wasn’t even an option. The solution, however, was exactly what was needed.
When Jesus’ disciples called on him in a storm, they got a surprising answer too. It was, of course, exactly what they needed.
And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
Notice also that Jesus asked them, “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” You’d think with Jesus right there with them they would not have been afraid. You’d think that maybe they’d poke Him and calmly ask if He could fix things. But they were afraid. We aren’t any different really. Although God never leaves us, we are often afraid.
Jesus helped them, and they marveled. What exactly were they expecting Him to do? I don’t know, but it evidently wasn’t to calm the storm. They didn’t understand the potential ramifications of their request. The solution chosen by God – the best and most complete – was something they had not even considered.
How often do you ask without taking into account what the answered prayer would look like in your life? Remember, when God does answer the answer will be perfect.
Today’s challenge is to ask yourself if you expect your prayers to be answered. Look for answers you had not expected as well. Know that God is working things out in His timing, but realize that “no” is also an answer. Whether you see the answer or not, thank God for his goodness.