I recently had a wonderful answer to prayer, and the surprise I felt when I got the news raised a red flag for me spiritually. While I was thrilled with the direct answer of “yes” to my specific prayer, I was also a little disappointed in myself for being so surprised by it. Usually, if we are surprised by something, it means we were not expecting it. So, apparently, I did not expect God to answer my prayer.
What’s the reason I was so surprised? Why didn’t I expect God to answer my prayer? Well, first of all, my request had to do with something that has been a longstanding and seemingly impossible situation. By sight, there is no way it will ever happen. Maybe I was walking too much by sight, believing that a humanly impossible situation was also impossible for God. But Scripture tells me that with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). My unbelief made me doubt.
Secondly, to be honest with you, I haven’t had a lot of direct answers to prayer in my life. This particular situation was one I could have manipulated to try to get the outcome I wanted. In fact, I almost did do some fancy footwork to influence people in the direction I wanted them to go. But in the end, I decided not to do that, but just to pray, and to ask the Lord specifically for what I wanted. After He granted it, I realized that all too often, I manipulate and control situations instead of praying and trusting God. My pride makes me rely on my own power, and not on God.
Finally, I think I was surprised because I have allowed myself to forget who God is, and how much He loves me. My father wants to give good gifts to His children (Matthew 7:11; James 1:17), and this thing that I wanted was very good. Why did I doubt that my Father would give it to me? He loves me with an everlasting love, and His love never fails. But many of my prayers have gone unanswered, or been refused. Though I know that all things work together for good (Romans 8:28), maybe the disappointments had led me to give up on my prayers being answered, at least the really big ones.
Maybe recent history crowded out the truth that I know about God’s love.
Did you ever ask your mom for something, and have her tell you to go ask your dad? If so, you know that if and when you did ask him, there was a chance he would say no, but there was always a chance that he would say yes. I’d like to challenge you today, to think of the one big thing you really want God to do. Maybe it’s the salvation of a loved one. Maybe it’s healing of your body or restoration of function. Whatever it is, commit it to prayer today. Stop running around, stop trying to change it on your own. Walk in humble obedience, believe that your loving Father can do it, and go ask your Dad.