I believe God can answer my prayers, but how can I believe he will answer them?

Some of you are praying for a loved one’s healing of a dreaded disease. Others are praying for someone’s salvation or that she will return to the Lord. However, it’s hard to believe God for the outcome if you don’t know what will happen. Counsel like “God answers our prayers with ‘yes,’ ’no,’ and ‘not right now’ ” are intellectually and emotionally unsatisfactory.

If I pray for a resolution for those prayers above, then I am praying according to what I think is best for them. But I also know that unrepentant people have wills of their own and God will not necessarily cross their wills; He gave them free will to choose for Christ or not. God will let them make their own choices. So I would pray for the best, but leave the results up to God. Praying for someone’s salvation or for coming back to God for repentance is good, because that’s what He wants (2 Peter 3:9)!

We don’t need to know the final outcome of a situation to pray for what’s right. How can you possibly believe God for an outcome you are unsure of? But you can believe that God will do what’s right with your prayers, can’t you? Are you convinced enough in God’s goodness and wisdom that you can trust him that way?

I also know that not all pain in someone’s life is bad. God uses our pain to teach us valuable lessons, especially to lean on Him for help, and to lead us to trust in something more enduring than the things in this life (see 2 Corinthians 4 for Paul’s perspective of suffering). Many times we’ve brought suffering into our own lives and we need to acknowledge our bad choices or bad lifestyles and turn the mess over to God (such as decisions that can send us to jail).

Regarding having a terrible disease, you can pray for wisdom for the doctors (for God uses human instruments to do his will), and for the sick one to learn the lessons God wants to teach her through her pains. It will he helpful to read a Christian biography or two about handicapped people to get their godly perspectives they’ve picked up, such as Fanny J. Crosby (blind) and Joni Eareckson Tada (paralyzed),

I’ve been deaf for several decades and have been getting worse and worse. I have not railed at God for not healing my deafness; rather, I am patient, having learned that He will definitely heal my hearing in the kingdom to come. I have patience, knowing that this life is short, but the kingdom is everlasting, and I will quickly forget this life when I enter the glory of the next life. Still, I have no problem with using hearing aids and then cochlear implants until then.

I did not learn this perspective overnight; it was long in development. This kind of faith is a mark of maturity, a trust in God that takes time to develop. If you are frustrated about not trusting God in these prayers, then you are not yet in the place of trust that puts you at peace with sufferings. Your faith needs more time and experiences to mature. God is not through with you yet!

This article may help you trust God regarding personal suffering:
http://www.stevehusting.com/doubtbusters/2013/11/23/is-everything-really-working-out-for-our-good/

About Steve Husting

Steve Husting lives in Southern California with his wife and son. He enjoys encouraging others through writing, and likes reading, digital photography, the outdoors, calligraphy, and iced coffee. He has written several books and ebooks, and hundreds of Christian devotionals. Steve is also having a great time illustrating God's Word with calligraphy.
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