“If we keep asking God about it, why doesn’t he just answer?” -Henry, 4.5
He asked me this getting out of the car yesterday. It kind of broke me in two…all of my own doubts and aches welling up in this one question, simply stated by this big beautiful soul who is just trying to understand the world from his four year old vantage point.
I didn’t tell him that this uncertainty is one he’ll probably wrestle with here and there for the rest of his life.
Instead, I said something like, “Sometimes the things we want aren’t actually the best thing for us, buddy. At least, not at the time we think they are. God knows what’s best for us, so we try to trust him even when it doesn’t seem like he’s answering. But we can definitely keep asking him. Let’s keep praying for it and see what happens.”
I choked through my words, trying to believe them for myself at the same time as they meant to comfort Henry’s precious heart.
It’s so easy to celebrate answered prayers when they come. Much harder to swallow down all of the feelings and questions that arise when they don’t. I know this firsthand, and I’m sure you do, too.
So why should we keep going on believing that our God is good and sovereign, and that he has our best interests in mind?
And we 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
If we hang our hats on the Word for truth and guidance in other areas of our lives, then we can place our bets on this part of the Word being true, too.
I know that it’s hard. Oh, believe me, I do! I’ve prayed for things for a long time that just don’t seem to be coming to fruition. I’m praying for them even now. And a lot of times, I want to shake my fist at God and say, “Don’t you hear me?! If this is what you’ve put on my heart, then why won’t you allow it to be?!” Sometimes I get a little mad. Sometimes I cry it out on my knees.
God knows that I love story. He put that love in me. He knows that I especially love good story–story with a resolution, a growth point, a beautiful ending. He knows that we all do.
So I have to decide on a daily basis whether I’m going to believe that God is just being mean, and withholding what I think I want and what I think is best, or if there’s a sliver of possibility that he knows–better than I do–what my heart and life really need.
Choosing to rest in the thought that God is sanctifying me and my life through the waiting is an everyday thing. A daily dying to self in order to acknowledge that I didn’t create my life, and it doesn’t belong to me.
We are living on borrowed time, friends. Every minute, every moment, every breath. We didn’t just appear on earth by accident, and we didn’t come from apes. We were created by a most holy God who has a plan for the world and a plan for our lives.
As hard as it is to own it and admit it, this is one of the most valuable lessons I can pass on to Henry and Eloise. These moments of doubt and questioning are opportunities for growth for their hearts, and they’re opportunities for my heart, too.
See, without the waiting, there’s no need for hope. There’s no need for prayer or wrestling or clinging to God. For me, I know God uses these times of waiting to strengthen my faith–to write a better story than I could imagine myself. When I look back on all of the times I thought I knew what was best for me, I can remember countless times I’m thankful that the story didn’t go my way.
“If we keep asking God about it, why doesn’t He just answer?”
Oh, but He does! He just might be taking the path less traveled to get us there. He might have things in store for us that are so beautiful we can’t even fathom them in our own understanding. He might take his time for our ultimate benefit.
I can rest my head here, or I can fight it. One choice makes me ache all over, and the other gives me feet for the path.
I pray that I will raise children who have feet for the path. They’re going to need them. I need them, too. I pray that their stories will be the kind dreams are made of, but beyond that, that they will have strength and faith for whatever comes.
“It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great. You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way.” -Psalm 18.32-36
If you’re in my camp, waiting on answers today, ask God to show you in some way that he hears you. Maybe the answers we’re looking for won’t come right away, or even on this side of heaven, but God hears us. I prayed that he would fall on my words here today. Maybe they’re for your heart as much as they’ve been for mine.
Praying that your yoke would be light in this season, loved ones, and that your story would be made more beautiful in its time,