When The Answer Doesn’t Appear to Be in Your Favor
Unable to Return the Way You Left – Part 3
This particular message comes at a peculiar time. As I reviewed a little history, I found where a person prayed and the prayer didn’t end the way that person requested. This doesn’t surprise me though. What it does is challenge my philosophy that God’s answer is always in your favor. He always has an answer for you regardless of what you think of it. I guess the next best thing I can do is to share the historical account that I found so that you can see what happens when you pray and the answer doesn’t look like it’s in your favor.
Jesus took three disciples with Him to a garden where He prayed. This in itself is a lesson on prayer. Jesus prayed. Let’s lose the word “prayed” and speak plainly. He held a conversation with God where He asked to have the plans for His life changed. The journey that was before Him was more than devastating; He knew it would end in His death, the worst case scenario for any human-being. So, He asked God to remove it. You already know what God’s response was; He didn’t change Jesus’ destination. So it’s like a prayer that went wrong; a prayer that went unanswered.
Jesus returned to the disciples who were with Him in the garden. I’m not sure what happened when He returned to them, but something turned Jesus back around to go have this conversation with God again. “God, there has to be another way to do this. Let’s find a way out of this.”
Jesus returns a second time and again, I’m not sure what happened. He went back to God and revisited the issue once again. God’s reply must have not been “no”, but rather a reiteration of what the plan was. A simple “no” would have resulted in a short conversation and no reason for Jesus to have revisited the issue.
You going through the trial, challenge, adversity may be best.
What if going through is best? Your situation might be that you have to go to the cross and even die. Why wouldn’t God have changed His reply to Jesus? Could He not see that Jesus was troubled, vexed, maybe even anxious? In prayer, we must be reminded that God knows more. His plans are bigger than what we can see. Why wouldn’t God answer Jesus’ prayer the way Jesus wanted? He’s Jesus, the son of God. Why won’t He answer yours the way you desire?
Here is just a little sneak preview of what Jesus would have missed out on if God had altered His plan by Jesus’ prayer request. On the other side of God’s plan was Jesus doing what no other ordinary human-being could do or ever do. He arose from the dead; even with the ability to walk through walls, teleport. On the other side of God’s plan for you is you doing what no other ordinary human-man will do. It’s the only way for you to rise from the dead. God may not have answered like Jesus desired and He might not answer like you desire, but His response leads to a far greater outcome than one can imagine. If Jesus could have seen His ability to teleport on the other side of the journey, He’d never have prayed such a prayer. If you could see what’s on the other side of that prayer that seems like it’s not being answered, you’d know that God has something far greater in store.
You get an inside scoop on what God wants when you pray.
Prayer gives you the inside scoop on what God is doing in your life, not what you want God to do. I believe that when Jesus made those requests, God came back at Him with what He was going to use Him to do. What would be on the other side of Him walking through His struggle. He’s God and it’s His plan that will work in your life, not your own. When you pray, God will give you what’s on the other side of a prayer that’s not answered in the way you desire. If it means you rising from the dead, then going through your situation God’s way is worth it. Don’t you think?
Prayer has never been about getting you what you want, it’s about getting what God wants for you. Prayer is a transformation process of who we are and what we think. It’s the exchange of common behavior, common attitudes, common actions, common planning, common thinking, for uncommon, extraordinary ones. On the other side of your prayer is never ordinary, natural results but God-kind-of-results.
Question: what will you do when your prayer yields answers you don’t desire?
Reference #1: Job 33:12-14 MSG, Bible.com, accessed January 20, 2021, https://www.bible.com/bible/97/JOB.33.12-14.MSG
Reference #2: Matthew 26:36-46 MSG, Bible.com, accessed January 20, 2021, https://www.bible.com/97/mat.26.36-46.msg
Reference #3: John 20:19 NLT, Bible.com, accessed January 20, 2021, https://www.bible.com/116/jhn.20.19.nlt
All Scripture references used by permission, see our Scripture copyrights.