“Why bother praying if God is just going to do whatever He wants?”
This is one of the greatest struggles I hear about in conversations with other bereaved parents. We pray for protection for our children, or pray for a healing, and when we don’t see God answer those prayers, it is frustrating (or we are outright angry) as it makes no sense, especially when we did everything we were supposed to do on our end.
In the previous blog, I shared part of an email from a hurting, grieving parent, who was questioning this very thing. And after admitting that I have struggled with it as well, I began to share my thoughts and heart on this issue.
To read part one, before continuing with part two, click here, which I highly recommend, as it gives four different perspectives on why we might want to keep praying.
As I was thinking and praying (yes, talking to God about this), I believe the Lord gave me an illustration that made so much sense to me. I have since shared it with dozens of other bereaved parents, and it seems to make sense to them as well.
As a king rules his land, his subjects will come to him to petition him for things. He can either say yes, or no, based on his view of the big picture of the entire kingdom.
The subject will be happy with his answer if he gets what he is asking for. But he could be pretty upset with the king if his request is denied. He may even be angry and slander the king to the other subjects, deciding he isn’t a very good king at all, for not doing what he wanted or needed, forgetting that the king is looking from a completely different viewpoint.
So, the subject may not always get his request granted, but at least he came before the throne for the King to hear his case. But if that subject doesn’t bother coming to the king with his need, the king has no obligation whatsoever to move on his behalf.
And that, is why we need to keep praying.
I believe this is what “request” prayers are like. I am petitioning the King for what I think I need, or even something I desperately want. He answers according to the big picture of eternity that I cannot see, based on information I don’t know. Sometimes my request is granted, and sometimes it is not, which can make me hurt, angry, and believing He isn’t a good King (or a loving Father). But I still need to continue going to Him with my requests and knock on the door to see if it opens for me.
I understand the struggle, and yes, I still sometimes wonder in my thoughts why I should bother asking God for something, especially when I feel like yet another prayer hasn’t been answered in the way I thought it would (or should) be answered.
And when I find that happening, I am learning to ask God what it is about Him that I don’t understand yet, because when I try to lean on my own understanding, I can get all messed up. So, I need to see things from His perspective. And if I don’t get an answer to that? Then I have decided to continue to believe that He sees what I cannot see, and knows what I do not know, and I will continue to share my heart with Him, trusting that someday, it will all make sense.
I think the bottom line is that we try to make sense of God with our finite brains and limitations, but that is just plain impossible. We want God to answer to us, which is just as futile as a teenager arguing with his parents, wanting them to answer to him. How can they? How can they explain that they see what their teenager cannot see, and knows what their teenager doesn’t know, in a way that makes that teen satisfied with the answer? And how can God possibly explain to us through His lens of eternity?
My husband, Dave, got a four-year degree in Computer Science. (It was so long ago that he even had to do a computer punch card program for one of his classes. Yikes!). His entire 30-year career was with programming computers, fixing computer programs and crashes, or internationally managing others who were doing it. There are times I ask Dave (who is my personal geek squad) to do something for me, and he has to tell me it can’t be done. I always want him to explain why, because it seems like he should be able to find a way, since he is a computer programmer by profession.
He often sighs, knowing that at some point I will get totally lost and not understand what he is trying to explain to me. (Interpretation: I get really frustrated, because it still doesn’t make any sense to me…)
I’m pretty sure the same thing would happen if I were to ask a nuclear scientist a question on how something worked, because it is beyond what my mind would be able to follow or comprehend.
God is greater than any computer techy or nuclear scientist, so what makes me think I would be able to follow or comprehend God’s explanation, either?
We often try to bring God down to our level because we want to understand His actions – why He does what He does. That is like the Israelites. They knew the acts of God, which left them always grumbling and complaining, but Moses knew His ways (Psalm 103:7). There is a big difference between knowing the actions of God and knowing His heart. When we go beyond knowing the acts of God and press in to knowing His ways (in other words, His heart), we can still trust that He is good and He is faithful, even in the deepest and darkest pain we can face on this earth.
And we can continue to come to Him with our requests, knowing that He is God and we are not. Someday this will all be behind us, and we will understand as we see through the same lens of eternity that our children now have.
Are you struggling to move forward in your life because of the painful things that have happened? Are you confused at God’s vision for your life? Do you need a deeper revelation of who God is in you?
Laura would love to give you the eBook version of her book Triple Crown Transformation. Just let us know where you would like it to be sent.
Expressions of Hope is written by author, speaker and singer Laura Diehl. She and her husband, Dave, are the founders of Grieving Parents Sharing Hope (GPS Hope). Dave and Laura travel full time in their Hope Mobile (a 38-foot motor home) to be more easily available for speaking and ministry requests, including being invited to hold one-day GPS Hope & Healing conferences.
If you would like more information about Laura as a speaker for your next event or want more information on hosting a GPS Hope & Healing conference, click here.
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