I have heard it many times.
Christians who say, “I prayed for a healing. God did not choose to heal. The answer was no. That was His answer.”
What this really means is that God just flat out says no to us when we pray for something.
God’s silence is an answer.
I am not sure.
It is disappointing when one prays hard and the result is nothing. Dorothy Greco writing in “Relevant” a Christian webzine says that she has friends who have reported deep despair, feeling unloved, betrayed, overwhelmed, confused etc. Maybe you have felt that too.
Greco asked for a healing. She spent days and then months praying for a diminishment of her disease. The lack of response from God led her to have serious doubts about the existence of God until:
She decided to turn it around.
She began to look at her situation in what I call a “big picture” way. What does Satan want to do to us all? He wants to defeat us. He wants to make us doubt our Lord. In fact, when Dorothy began to have doubts, Satan was probably having a happy dance. She began to think about the war that we have with Satan every day, a war that began with Adam and Eve in the Garden, a war that continues today. Was she going to give the devil a foothold in her life? She decided no.
She thought about how our society had affected her attitude toward answered prayer. We live in a consumer-driven world. Recently I have been in situations at grocery stores and fast food restaurants where service has not been quick. We want to be served promptly and we get a bit peeved when it is not quick enough. Are we that way with God? Do we expect Him to answer our prayers post haste? Maybe we do. We are not a patient people.
This next thing she did is so hard but I admire people when they can do it. As we have things happen to us in life, our lives change. I have a friend who has gained 250 lbs. and his mobility is being hampered. I have another who has almost lost his sight. I recently have had a problem with my hearing in my right ear which has been bothersome. I know this is tough but what do we still have? Well the pessimist would say, we don’t have a perfect physical body. Too much weight gain has made walking tough. A lack of sight is not a laughing matter. A lack of hearing is not so hot either as I realize I have a problem processing some messages from some people in certain circumstances. But what do we have left? My hefty friend has a good mind and can work wonders with woodworking machines. My nearly blind friend can walk and in fact is one of the most fit 64 year old men I know. I can still see to read and I can process most messages that I hear. The point, focus on what you have left, rather than moan about what you have lost. Dorothy Greco accepted her health limitation and looked at what she could do rather than what she could not do.
Finally the answer of no may not be a flat rejection at all. Dr. Willard says that no or silence may not be the answer. The true answer is that God is asking us to change. He cites Paul who begged God to remove the thorn from his flesh. God denied him three times with the admonition “My grace is all you need; power is most fully seen in weakness.” [2 Corinthians 12:9]. Maybe we are focusing on the answer we need too much and God is waiting for us to make a move. Mark Batterson in his book The Grave Robber states that God is still in the miracle business but sometimes He is expecting a natural or human move before He makes His supernatural move. In fact Batterson feels that people who seek God actively have an edge in experiencing God: “Follow Jesus, and if you follow Jesus long enough and far enough, you’ll eventually find yourself in the middle of some miracles.”
We may wait and wait for God to make His move when God is waiting and waiting for us to make our sign of commitment first.
Commit and then He will answer.
Allow Him to transform you and He will answer.
Batterson says it best: “Have you sought God for the right thing in the wrong way, at the wrong time for the wrong reason.” God is a giving God and he wants to answer your prayers.
People tell me that silence is an answer to pray.
I am not sure.
“Draw closer to Me” may be the real message rather than that simple two-letter word no.