THE PROBLEM OF “UNANSWERED” PRAYER

Scripture Reading: Habakkuk 1:1-4

“How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but You do not listen?” (Habakkuk 1:2a)

This is a problem that every child of God faces at one time or another in life. There are times when it seems that God doesn’t hear our prayers, or at least, it seems that He doesn’t answer our prayers. Why is this the case, especially during times of severe distress? There are several facts that we must consider as we ponder this question.

First, sometimes the answer is obvious; it is revealed in God’s Word. This was the case with Habakkuk. God’s Word makes it clear that God is a God of justice. He will deal with sin — “Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished” (Exodus 34:7b). We must search the Scriptures and as we do, we will find many of God’s answers within them.

Second, we may be going through times of severe testing and it is difficult for us to discover God’s answer. This was the case with Job. Job had to go through a process to get God’s answer. The answer was always there, but Job count not see it because he was in such distress and, of course, his friends didn’t help him much either.

Third, there are times in which God makes us wait a while before giving us His answer. Several times we are told in Scripture to “wait on the Lord.” This takes great trust in HIm. We must be patient and keep our eyes open for the answer.

Finally, there may be situations in which we will not find the answer this side of heaven. We have to submit to God and trust Him no matter what.

How, then, do we handle times of distress as we wait on God? We must remember these things about God:

God is God. He is sovereign over all things. He is fully in control.

God is good. His essential nature is one of goodness. All that He does is good.

God always knows and does what is best for His children. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans8:28).

The bottom line is that we must trust God during these difficult times. Habakkuk came to this conclusion when he wrote — “But the righteous shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4).

Sovereign and loving God, I know that You hear every prayer I lift up to You. I know that You will answer them in Your own way and in your own time. Grant me grace to wait patiently and to trust You fully no matter what I am facing. I know that You are God; You are good; and You always know and do what is best for me.

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