Today, let’s look at some of the reasons we don’t get the answers we’re hoping for.
This first scripture gives us two hints. Can you find them?
You jealously want what others have so you begin to see yourself as better than others. You scheme with envy and harm others to selfishly obtain what you crave—that’s why you quarrel and fight. And all the time you don’t obtain what you want because you won’t ask God for it! And if you ask, you won’t receive it for you’re asking with corrupt motives, seeking only to fulfill your own selfish desires.James 4:2-3 (TPT)
The number one mistake we can make is simply not to ask God for what we want in the first place. How many times do we think to ourselves, I can make this happen. Or, This is too small to bother God. He wants us to invite him in. He is not too busy for us. The second hint has to do with selfish motives and personal gain. Compare it to your child crying in the store for some candy. I know you just want your child to be quiet and you know that giving in will spoil them. Father God knows better than to give in to you, it won’t do you any good and will set up a destructive pattern.
This next verse touches on the need for faith in God, belief in what you’re asking for, and forgiveness of others. It is implied that the answers won’t come if you have doubt, unbelief, or are unforgiving.
Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”Mark 11:22-25 (NLT)
This next verse is from the story of the woman at the well. Jesus addresses her ignorance.
Jesus answered, “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water.”John 4:10 (MSG)
If we are ignorant of who God is and what he wants to give us, we won’t know that when we ask for small things (water) he wants to give us so much more (living water).
This last one is a harder pill to swallow. It comes from Paul telling about an affliction he was suffering from. The story begins with a visit to heaven and ends with a messenger of Satan inflicting a thorn in his side. Paul has seen the power of God like no other. He knows God can heal him, he is not ignorant of God’s power. So why didn’t God heal him? Let’s find out.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to relieve me of this. But he answered me, “My grace is always more than enough for you, and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.” So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me.2 Corinthians 12:8-9 (TPT)
God answered differently than Paul expected. Instead of healing he gave him strength and power, and God delineated that it was his strength and power at work in Paul. God used Paul’s affliction for good. Paul remained humble and powerful, keeping the focus on God and not on himself.
Sometimes God takes our lemons and makes lemonade. His purpose for us may not come with the answers we expect. His answers may not be easy, but he knows more about what we need than we do.
Grace & Peace,