What do you do when God doesn’t answer prayer?
What do you do when your best falls flat?
If you were being lazy, or not willing to give up a problematic vice, then at least you would have the comfort of believing you could dig yourself out of your current circumstances if only you kick your butt into gear…. but what if you’re already doing everything you can think of?
Now I don’t mean to say you’re doing everything perfect, because let’s admit it… we’re human beings. Our perspective is so limited that there’s no way we can figure out every possible answer… but if you’re praying, reading your bible, addressing weak areas, looking to others for advice, grabbing opportunities as you see them, making opportunities when you can’t see any, addressing areas you keep putting off, throwing yourself out there, and trying to stay open to where you are weak.
Not that you are doing it perfectly, but that you are giving it the best effort that you can.
We like to believe that as long as you put in enough effort, things will go our way. That anyone who doesn’t seem to keep up, is clearly not giving it their all… but there are also times when life just stinks.
When you give out resumes but they all fall through
Where you network with others but are quickly overlooked
Where you advertise but are immediately overshadowed
Where you budget, but unexpected experiences come up
Where you give the quality but have no fame
Where you try new things, but fall through
Where you give your best effort, but are slower than those who slack off
Where you fight through pain, but it doesn’t matter since you can’t bring results
Where you look for advice, and hear only what you already know
Where you look for comfort, but can not find understanding
There are times where you long to move forward but you no longer know what forward looks like.
Where if you panic and try anything, you’ll end up somewhere worse, but if you hold out and stay, things will fall apart anyways
So what do you do when human logic is clueless?
What do you do when human effort fails?
What do you do when the path forward is not clear?
What do you do when there’s no explanation for how badly things keep working out?
You pray. You pray. You pray.
When people ask me what I’m doing and I say I am praying… I do not say that to mean I don’t do anything on my own. No. I apply for jobs, I sell my wares and services, I seek opportunities, I look for ways to improve my weaknesses, to grow my skillset, to improve my existing one. I budget, rebudget, and rebudget again. I seek advice, learn from others, make connections.
Yes, I do all the things I can think of to do, but I tell you now that all those things in and of themselves are worthless if that is what you think what will save you.
Even if my odds of failure are 10000:1, if the Lord is still holding me back to teach me, then that 1 time will hit every time. If I were going by worldly standards I’d have nothing to say but that my luck is horrible…. but because I know God I can say I am still learning and growing.
So what? Has God abandoned me? Am I just sitting by waiting for judgement to come?
No! I would not say that at all!
I stand on a battlefield with thousands of enemies, and three giants have been approaching me closer and closer. They are giants who wish to kill me. They are giants I cannot defeat. They are giants I have prayed ceaselessly for months for God to save me from. They are giants who continue to remain untouched.
So where is God? What happened to my hope? Are my prayers so useless? Is it wrong for me to want? Is it wrong for me to hope? Is it wrong for me to ask? Am I just abandoned? Are my prayers defective??
It is true that the giants remain untouched…. and if the giants were all I looked at, then yes. I would say I had been abandoned… And yet… God has been at work…. He has been slaying countless enemies one by one. Enemies I have put off dealing with for far too long. Enemies who had weakened me. Enemies who had held me back.
I am still no match for the giants before me. No matter how strong God makes me, there is no way that I can save myself. But why would God take time to repair a ship He intended to let an approaching storm destroy? In that I can find encouragement, when all that lies before me is despair.
Now I want to take a moment to say, that I am not saying this as one who knows he will be saved. To tell you honestly, I’ve had my prayers unanswered time and time again…. it shames me to say there are days when I almost feel expectant that I will be ignored again… I have no proof that God will not let me drown. That God will not let me be attacked. That I won’t come out of this beaten beyond recognition.
But I do not serve God because He can save me. Were He to abandon me to my fate, were heaven itself to be not true. I would still have to serve Him. I do not serve God for what I get out of it. I serve God for He is God!
But Because I serve Him I ask Him. Because I serve Him I know His love for us. Because I serve Him I feel the courage to ask. Not because of what I deserve. But because He loves me enough to listen to my concerns. Because He loves me enough that He will provide and protect.
However, if I am to fail… my one regret would be that I am sure there would be those who would look at me and say “After all the talking he did! This is his result??” and believe God to be a fake. Or even worse! Those in the church who would say “We tried to warn him. God only helps those who take initiative. God only helps those who lead the way.” and use it to solidate such beliefs within their minds.
I will confess I would love to be saved. I don’t like hurting every day. I don’t like being scared at all times. The chains around my neck choke me to the point I feel I can hardly breathe. But more than anything… since God has brought me this far, I would love to be able to show the world what faith in Him can do.
I know there are many who read these posts, even when there are few who seem to like or comment. I get stopped from time to time from people who thank me, whether they agree with me or not, for giving them something to think about, and it makes me glad.
But I can rattle off philosophy, theology, economics, observations, and theories for as long as I can breathe…. but even still, there is no greater witness than to live your faith out to the fullest.
These last 5 years have been rough. These last 3 months have been murder…. but if there can be any good to come from my suffering, I want it to be this.
I want people to see what it means to choose to have faith. And more importantly I want people to see what wonders God can do with it.