Unanswered Prayers – For Richard Phillips

Garth Brooks wrote a song called “Unanswered Prayers.” For those of you unfamiliar with this song, it talks about how the narrator thanks God for not answering a prayer that he had prayed a long time ago. He was thankful because his life turned out great, even though God didn’t do what the narrator thought best at the time. Often I’ve wondered about this song. How is it good that God doesn’t always answer our prayers? Doesn’t it say in Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you?” How can it be that God does not give us what we ask?

Then I turned to Proverbs 19:21, which states, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” And Proverbs 16:9, (my one of my favorite Bible passages) “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.”

How can it be that I can ask God for something that He will not give to me? Many, many times I wonder, worry, and fret over this fact. “Will God give me what I want?” “Is this what I need?” “How can I get what I think I need with THAT?”

God is all about TRUST! I know that that is a big word for some of us (especially me!), but think about it. Don’t you think that the CREATOR of all things can figure out a plan for us? Sure, I don’t want to accept the fact that I don’t know what’s going on in my existence. Maybe I WANT to be in control. But, I know in my heart (and maybe NOT my head) that God knows what’s going on. He’s got it all under control. That’s the great part about God. He got it all in the palm of His hand. Like the song, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hand.”

The omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God that we love and believe in has it all together. How great is THAT!? We don’t have to overstress or overwork ourselves, because we know in our hearts that someone GREATER than we will EVER(!) be has it under control. I don’t know about you, but that makes ME sleep soundly at night.

Now, here’s the funny part. Don’t worry! No, this is not a repeat of the advice Bobby McFerran gave us in the 1990’s, or the words of wisdom spoken by animated characters in a Disney movie. This is God, straight-up and true, in Matthew 6:25ff, “Do not worry about you life…” He tells us outright. How wonderful is it that we do not have to overstress about the things of this world? He’s got it under control. Remember this, when you hear the Garth Brooks song. Yes, we may not get what we want, but we have the assurance that someone greater knows exactly what we need, when we need it. Patience is a virtue (Galatians 5:22-23).

Psalm 90:4a “For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by.” God works on His own time.

May He give us the faith to wait for His time, too.

For more help, see Psalm 25, Psalm 23, and Psalm 139 (the Psalm of my late Step-Grandfather, Richard Phillips).

One thought on “Unanswered Prayers – For Richard Phillips

  1. Friday night, I read the following from Jeremiah 1:

    “5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew (or chose) you,
    before you were born I set you apart;
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

    6 “Alas, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”

    7 But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.”

    It stopped me in my tracks. Not only does He know the current count at all times of the numbers of hairs on our head (an undoubtedly the number of cells in our body at any given time), in Jeremiah’s case, He’s already assigned this wildly unexpected and huge task before he was even conceived.

    This is just incredible to me, I’ve been meditating on it all week.

    I think next week, I’ll tackle the part that says “Do not say, ‘I am too young'”. Am I ready to face down my what ifs and paltry excuses? Am I prepared to accept that the plans He has for me are bigger than I believe I am capable of? We’ll see.


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