Confessions of a Pastor - I struggle with God’s answers to my prayers!
Please locate the insert in your newsletter. We have two college students currently on short mission trips. Kaitlin Henthorne is heading to Mumbai, India in South Asia. She left on March 2 and will return on March 10. Colin Brooks is heading to the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas. Colin left on March 3 and will also return on March 10. Don’t you think we should pray for Kaitlin and Colin? (Brian Maxwell) “God, we pray that you would prepare Kaitlin and Colin for something of God to happen on this trip. May they have eyes and hearts of compassion! May they remember they are there to serve! This trip is about you and not them. May they be salt and light! May their entire team be unified – one heart and one purpose. May they be safe and stay healthy. May your kingdom come, may your will be done in South Asia and in Eleuthera. May people be set free from sin because Kaitlin and Colin chose to be used by you! In Jesus name, Amen!
I will put this insert in my car. Every time I see it, I will pray for them! Will you do the same? Where are you when it comes to this discipline of prayer? I was taking my son Sam to school last Thursday and he said, “Dad, do you want to pray? And I’m like, you bet I do! So I prayed for God to watch over him, over my daughter, over my wife. I prayed, God, today this day you made. What do you want us to do for you? Can you imagine how many prayers are lifted up to God every moment of every day?
Do you think there were prayers prayed by students and parents and teachers last Monday morning at Chardon High School? Do you think parents were praying, God, watch over my son or daughter? Do you think the parents of Russell King Jr. and Demetrius Hewlin and Daniel Parmertor[i] were all praying the same thing? “God, please watch over my son – God, my son has been shot, please let him live? But they didn’t. All three died. It’s now time for my third Confession as a Pastor. I sometimes struggle with God’s answers to my prayers! They don’t often go the way I think they should! Have you ever felt that way before? I have with me here this weekend two people who know exactly what I mean? They’re here to tell you the story of God working in their lives. Please welcome Mike & Cindy Bish.
God answers prayer. He says yes. He says no. He says not now. When Sam Bish died or actually went to heaven. I was frustrated with God. I wanted Sam to live here. I wanted him to be the additional miracle for all the world to see. God said no. As Mike and Cindy said, Sam was healed. And that was their prayer.
Maybe you might want to know this, maybe not, but when I’m frustrated with God’s answers to my prayers, I do this. I tell him, which means I find myself praying again. The Bible calls this lamenting. I call it ranting and whining. If you are frustrated lament! God has broad shoulders. He can take it. “God, I wanted that person to live, but they didn’t. God, I don’t want to be sick, but I am. God I wanted that job, but I didn’t get it again. God, I thought moving was a good idea, but it’s been a mess.” And when I’m done ranting I feel better.
When people rant this is actually what we are saying, “God, I don’t like the way you are running the universe. Frankly, I think I can do a better job myself!” Do you see how ridiculous that is?
Sometimes in the Bible we’re not sure why someone wrote what they wrote, but other times the Bible says exactly why something was written. Luke 18:1 is a perfect example. Luke tells us: Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. We’ll focus on the parable another time. The question here is never about power. The question is never, “Is God able to do this?” The question is “Will you trust me?
Because when it comes to this world, this body and this life. God has it all under control. So keep praying. No matter the answers, keep praying to your father who cares about you more than any human parent ever could. Are you hurting about something? Mike & Cindy know how you feel and they would pray with you right now!