Why doesn’t God answer our prayers the way we want?

You are often advised to pray and, when you dare to ask something from God, you look forward to His response. And you wait, but this wait can sometimes be agonizing. It's hard to wait when you're not sure of the outcome. It would be much easier if you knew that something good would happen or if you received at least a sign of encouragement from God to keep waiting. Or a reassurance to keep praying. But often God remains silent when you wait for His answer. You have no idea if He will ever answer your prayer and you feel discouraged.

“How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? For ever? How long wilt thou hide thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?” (Psalm 13:1-2). These are questions many Biblical characters had, and you probably asked such questions many times too. If you knew God was going to answer the prayer with a "Yes", it would be different, but without such assurance, even a "No" feels easier than "WAIT".

Some time ago I searched the Bible to find a promise to help me in the midst of a difficult time while waiting for an answer. Something to give me hope. I found this verse about Abraham: “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;  And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform” (Romans 4:20-21).

Even though I admired Abraham’s faith, I felt this example was a little unfair. Of course Abraham never doubted. He had a direct word from God. If I had a direct promise from God, an assurance of His answer, then I would be willing to wait. Abraham could wait because he knew he would get what he asked for. So I decided to ask God for a sign. I didn’t get anything. No confirmation. Only silence for a long time… and, in the end, God's answer was "No".

At first, waiting seemed unjust and unreasonable. I tried to understand those seemingly wasted years. Why didn’t God answer me?

As time passed, I understood the meaning of faith in God’s promises and thus I also understood Abraham’s story. Abraham’s faith wasn’t a result of God’s promise. His faith was deeply anchored in the One who made the promise – God! His faith wasn’t in what God did for him, but in God himself, which is the reason why Abraham was willing to wait. He could do anything God asked him – he wasn’t afraid of the consequences. Abraham’s waiting strengthened his faith. Abraham was confident that God will offer him everything he needs.

You need to have the same assurance as Abraham: that God will give you everything you need, at the right time. When you don’t focus on the result, you will understand the wait differently.

Maybe God is not answering for the same reasons He let Abraham wait. To strengthen your faith, to make you responsive to His voice and to develop a profound relationship with Him.

Don’t lose hope!

Waiting is not only about what you get in the end, but about who you become during this process!

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