Scripture is very clear… ALL of God’s promises are “yes and amen”. This means they are, “Yes, and so be it.” This would imply that they are answered in the affirmative- that there is no question. Yet, we hear stories of unanswered prayer leaving believers to question their own faith. Did God hear me? Why does He not answer when I call? What am I doing wrong? Did I do something wrong?
This line of thinking can diminish our faith as we struggle with why we serve a God who isn’t answering. It’s one thing to wait on an answer, it is another to wait on a promise and see nothing. And it is not necessarily the little things… Many of us have cried out needing a miracle. It is hard enough going through trials and temptations. However, when we know what God promised us through scripture (no ambiguity), and it doesn’t happen, we are left wondering why. Doesn’t He care?
I Feel so abandoned… So all alone!
It’s understandable how someone could feel abandoned. We are taught to stand on the promises of God. If our faith doesn’t waiver, and we remain firm, they will manifest. God can’t lie nor deceive. Yet, when waiting feels like it’s gone on forever, or something negative happens, we are left asking God, “Why?”
“Why did you let this happen, God?” we cry out in anguish. “Why did you let my mom die? We stood on your scriptures for healing. We believed. She said that she believed. Your scripture guarantees healing… I don’t get it! Why didn’t you show up?”
Whether it is healing, finances, employment… the list goes on. Every one of us has stories of something that just didn’t turn out. But does that mean that God doesn’t care? No. Does it mean that God lies, because if His promises are indeed yes and amen, then shouldn’t we have seen them manifest?
And Now for the complicated answer…
The answer truly is, yes and no. God is truthful. He cannot lie. Scripture tells us this. So, why didn’t it manifest if God doesn’t lie? We don’t know the whole story. Sometimes bad things just happen. There are things that we don’t understand at the time. Sometimes God will reveal the why later, and sometimes we won’t know until we get to Heaven.
Someone may have died because God decided that it was their time. Or sometimes, sickness comes on an individual due to bad choices. I had a friend whose father smoked three packs of cigarettes a day for forty years. He was diagnosed with emphysema in his fifties. He didn’t believe the doctor’s diagnosis, and kept on smoking heavy as ever.
When his wife died 15 years later, he went into a deep depression. He drank from sun up to sun down. He said that it numbed the pain. All he wanted to do is be with his wife. Life had no meaning.
He lived on, though, despite the damage that he did to his body. He lived recklessly never giving consideration to tomorrow. This was hard on his children who had to watch their father’s destructive behaviour.
His daughter prayed that he would turn from alcohol and smoking for years. She prayed that it would become distasteful, and that he would develop an aversion to it. Then, while talking to him, she would hear that he had quit (praise the Lord!). Yet, after a month, he would return to it, much to her dismay.
His health declined slowly. Now, in his late seventies, he had reported that he was spitting up blood. Not coughing it up, just spitting it out of his mouth.
He had gone to the doctor a few months back, and received a clean bill of health. Why was this happening? It wasn’t from his lungs, but why the blood?
Again, she prayed. The bleeding stopped. God answered her prayer. He fulfilled His promises. She prayed for him to turn from addiction. He did… for awhile.
And so it went on. She prayed, God answered, he changed, then he went back. Finally, one October, the bleeding began again worse than ever. Scared, she prayed. It would come and go, but it never stopped. Her father did quit smoking and drinking. He couldn’t do it, anymore. Yet, the healing didn’t manifest.
“Why God,” she asked. “Why aren’t you healing him like you did before?”
Five months later he died of heart failure. The family was devastated. Why did God not heal him? We prayed!
The daughter for the longest time did not know why God didn’t answer.
The truth was that God gave this man many chances to change his behaviour. It wasn’t God who took him. In fact, it was God who had healed him numerous times. The man just couldn’t avoid the temptation. Upon praying, God made it clear that He tried. The father’s heart would not yield- he didn’t think that he could beat the addiction to alcohol and smoking. It was a heart issue.
God can heal, but sometimes, He allows us to suffer the consequences. My friend’s dad should have turned from the sin at the first healing. He did realize that it was a miracle from God. Yet, he gave in too easily. God intervened again and again in his life. His promises did manifest. Her father just wouldn’t turn from the sin.
He was told that God wanted him to quit smoking and drinking. He believed it. It still wasn’t enough to get him to stop. He reaped the consequences of his behaviour- unfortunately. God’s miracles couldn’t change his heart. He became the victim of his own bad choices.
In this illustration, we can see that God did keep His promises for healing. It didn’t stick due to the man’s unwillingness to turn from sin. At a glance, one could say that God’s promises didn’t manifest. Yet, they did. You would only know that if you had talked to the dad about it.
You can’t abuse your body and always expect God to heal you in the nick of time. He will perform miracles- but we have to do our part, as well.
Why at that time?
The man abused his body so badly, that in the natural, he should have died long before he did. Yet, God still kept him alive. With his health declining, and not being able to engage in these addictions, my friend’s dad became unbearable. Addicted, he would get angry for no reason at his daughter towards the end. She loved her dad, and understood, but it was still really hard. He was hard to be near.
But she loved him, anyway.
She asked God, “Why now? Why after all this time?”
No answer. Not for the longest time.
Looking back now, she sees that God’s timing is perfect. Around that October, before her dad became really sick, she told God she had wanted to go to the next level. She was ready to do what He had showed her. Then, he dad’s health declined.
She was travelling with her family, at the time. However, she always felt guilty- she worried that something would happen to him. While she loved travel, she couldn’t stand to be away from him. Someone needed to care for him.
God’s next for her involved travel. She would have never stepped into the opportunity because her obligation to her dad would have kept her back. It would not have worked. Furthermore, his erratic behaviour was not healthy for the family, overall. It was a great stressor to her as she was the one who lived close by. Emotionally, it became too much.
It was his time to go. He had lived a full life. He wanted to be with his wife. His daughter (my friend) needed to move on with her life. She had sacrificed for so many years. But now it was her time.
Why am I telling you all this?
Because things are not as hopeless as they may seem. God sometimes works in mysterious ways. The outcome may not seem good, but He does have your interests at heart. He hasn’t forgotten you. But there is an answer. You just may not know it yet.
Lynn Baber discusses why sometimes God’s promises fail to manifest. Lynn talks about the confusion that results when we don’t understand why we are going through things. And the frustration of waiting for the results.
It can seem confusing and contradictory to any Christian, but Lynn will provide you with the answers you are yearning to hear.
This feature and more in our March 2021 issue of FFFM coming out on February 26, 2021!