Friday, 27 July 2012

Answered Prayers


In Ma's comments yesterday I wrote:

I don't go for the "name it and claim it" stuff, but the Lord does want us to be persistent in asking, [however] sometimes He has something else in mind than what we are asking for...only He knows the full picture, we only see it in part, and then we ask amiss because we narrowly desire something that misses that bigger picture.

It is truly a trust issue, where even if our prayers seem to fail, God never fails in doing the right thing.


Lucy has been improving, Praise the Lord! She looks much different from that picture (above) taken about a year and a half ago. Her latest test came up clear of cancer, and the fact that she still lives is of course truly a miracle. 
However, if we don't get what we ask for, if Lucy had passed away, could it be because we didn't ask enough? Or didn't say the "right words"? Or because God forgot about showing us His mercy in her situation? 

There are many times He answers "no" to our requests for healing. Why is that?

A young woman I work with recently had a surgery to try to solve her sleep apnea problems. She is a beautiful person, inside and out. She always had kind things to say about others. She had a beautiful laugh and a gorgeous smile. She's an architect who just prior to her surgery, did some work for FEMA. She loves helping people. The day after her surgery a few months ago, she lapsed into a coma. She came out of the coma a couple of weeks later, barely functioning, barely and only sometimes able to follow simple commands. We who know her beg the Lord for a healing touch to restore the beautiful friend and family member to us. So far the answer has been "no"... or maybe it is "wait". 

I think about the lessons Jesus taught with His life while He was here amongst us. Why did He wait until Lazarus was completely dead before restoring him? Weren't his sister's faithful enough in their prayers and their grief? And what about those who do not ever have their loved ones restored to them in this life? Does it mean that they (or the Lord? we know this would be impossible, but there are those of course who blame to Lord for not giving them a "yes" to their requests for healing) were not faithful? Does the Lord always allow sickness for the reason of displaying His awesome power of healing through answered prayer? If He doesn't heal is it because we are doing something wrong?... because He is angry with us over some other thing that He is punishing us for? Is it to teach us patience and trust in Him, even in losing such precious loved ones?

I really don't know the answer to these questions. I don't know why He sometimes answers "yes" and other times in seemingly identical situations the answer is "no". Certainly we need to continue to be persistent in our asking.

Luk 11:5  And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;
Luk 11:6  For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
Luk 11:7  And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.
Luk 11:8  I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
Luk 11:9  And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
Luk 11:10  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Luk 11:11  If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
Luk 11:12  Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
Luk 11:13  If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Is this promising a complete healing in this life, of body, mind and soul? Or is this talking about something else?

But, like I stated in Ma's comments section, we might not know why the Lord does (or doesn't do) what He does, but He does know what He is doing, and He does it perfectly even when it isn't the way we think it would best showcase His love and perfection. He is perfect. Our understanding of that is not perfect, not even close. Everything, the good, the bad, and everything in between, will end up for good in those who are His and called according to His purpose. I cling to that promise. (Romans 8:28)

Added thought:

 ...thinking more about this....what disturbs me about this is that it seems like we look to God as a genie that we have to "rub the right way" to get what we want.... like we are his experimental creatures along the lines of "Pavlov's dogs". I know this isn't what our relationship with Him should be, however it often strikes me that often what I see is that kind of conditioning in how we are to ask and receive, and I don't think that is what the Lord desires of us at all.
 

11 comments:

  1. First of all, I'm so glad to hear about Lucy doing better:) Praise the Lord!


    I really don't know about answered/unanswered prayers. Jesus tells us all the time to ask, keep asking, have faith, believe in miracles, all things are possible, don't be afraid, trust, and much more.

    Then when we don't see these things manifested in our lives we do wonder hmmmm? Are we reading the text wrong?, were these promises for a different time or dispensation?, are we somehow in disobedience or punishment?, are we being tested?

    I don't have any answers either...but hope, great hope.


    Our church's pastor's wife was discussing Romans 8:28 yesterday and I thought of you and she said that if we go on to read the next verse that all these things conform us to His image, that not all bad things bring about "good" so to speak, but bring out or form the "good" in us, which is Christ in us the hope of Glory. The bible says that Jesus learned obedience by the things He suffered and we too must carry our crosses.


    I do believe in miracles, though, again and even though weeping lasts for the night, joy comes in the morning!

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    1. Also

      "First of all, I'm so glad to hear about Lucy doing better:) Praise the Lord!"

      Indeed! Praise God for all His goodness!

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  2. So true, Ma, the dispensational argument also comes up regarding this and other miracles :)

    Every day we wake up is a miracle, every beat of each of our hearts is a miracle. We grow complacent about these because they seem so commonplace, ordinary, ho-hum, so what...it can't be a miracle that we are alive because life is all around us! What?!? We have to be jolted with sickness and death to be reminded that being alive is miraculous!!!???! Is that the reason? Maybe one of the many reasons?

    "...weeping lasts for the night, joy comes in the morning!"

    amen.

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  3. ...thinking more about this....what disturbs me about this is that it seems like we look to God as a genie that we have to "rub the right way" to get what we want.... like we are his experimental creatures along the lines of "Pavlov's dogs". I know this isn't what our relationship with Him should be, however it often strikes me that often what I see is that kind of conditioning in how we are to ask and receive, and I don't think that is what the Lord desires of us at all.

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    1. No I don't that it is what He wants from us.

      Jesus gets irritated often with the lack of faith and it even says He can't do miracles in one case because of their lack of faith. It is strange to me to think that miracles are tied with faith, but they do seem to be a lot in the gospels.

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    2. "Jesus gets irritated often with the lack of faith and it even says He can't do miracles in one case because of their lack of faith."

      Hi Ma, :)

      Do you mean:

      Mar 6:5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.

      ?

      The word "save" in this verse means "with the exception of"... so I read that to mean that the "only thing" He was able to to wasn't a mighty work, just a few healings of sick people here and there, which makes me wonder what mighty work He would have done if there was faith there.

      The verses preceding that one above gives us a clue:

      Mar 6:1 And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him.
      Mar 6:2 And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?
      Mar 6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us?,and they were offended at him. (they were mocking Him)
      Mar 6:4 But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.

      This took place previously in Capernaum:

      Mar 1:21 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.
      Mar 1:22 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.

      and right after this He casts out unclean spirits:

      Mar 1:23 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,
      Mar 1:24 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.
      Mar 1:25 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.
      Mar 1:26 And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.
      Mar 1:27 And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.

      Is the casting out of unclean spirits greater than "a few healings"?

      I'm asking because I think so much emphasis is put on physical healing but I think there is something greater than that which Jesus needs to do, that He is prevented from doing, because He is only allowed to do the kinds of things that people want done, the spiritual healing which is much deeper and more profound than the physical, often is not desired, just like the people that saw Jesus cast out Legion begged Him to leave their town. (Mark 5:17; Luke 8:37)

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    3. Is the casting out of unclean spirits greater than "a few healings"?


      Certainly not. I would definitely say spiritual healings are of much greater importance:)

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    4. Hi Ma :D

      I think so too. I am grateful when He shows mercy regarding our physical bodies, but I think part of the lesson of Lazarus and his sisters is that the physical body is only of minor importance, and He is more concerned about the majors... while we only want the minors.

      But like with the centurion and his daughter, he did recognize and reward great faith in His ability with physical healings, so of how great a value it is in the overall, perhaps this was because of His mercy (?) He does want to give us all good things, and all good things come from above (James ch 1) but He gives so many more good things every day that get no thank you, no nod of appreciation at all, it is always "give me what I really want" all the time.

      Not seeing many evil spirits cast out these days, just a lot of clamoring for healings and other glitzy manifestations :(

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  4. This is a fascinating topic. One I have thought on many, many times. I think that God doesn't allow us to suffer loss of health or loved ones until He deems us ready for the experience. And it always means that we are to be close to Him.

    And perhaps when He does restore it is for the same reason? To enhance our faith in Him and prepare us for when He will take something, or someone precious to us away.

    I'm thinking about Job and how he couldn't see what was going on in the spiritual realm regarding his sufferings. But God, although He did encourage him and eventually restore everything to him, never revealed the reason why Job had to suffer so much.

    God is mysterious and at times very demanding of us but He always has our best interest in mind. What an awesome God!

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    1. Mysterious, demanding, awesome. Those are very good descriptions of our God, and still probably don't come close to describing Him. So true about how Job (like us) couldn't see what was really going on. Thanks Sincerity. :D

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  5. I am reminded of Daniel 3, where Daniel's friends are facing the furnace and they say that God will deliver them, but that even if He doesn't they still won't bow to idols. I think that the phrase "even if He doesn't" is key. Basically, Daniel's friends were saying that God may not always come through in the way that one would like, but that believers should always act as if He does, and that they should trust in God with the same intensity regardless of the outcome. I find that to be both true and moving. I don't think that God ever lets bad things happen to people simply because others haven't prayed hard enough for them, but that He does answer prayers. I can't say how these two things hold together. My brain is the size of a pea, and God's mind is infinite. All I can say is that God is good all the time, but that our hearts should break for all the terrible suffering in this world. Anyway, I'm glad that Lucy is doing better.

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