I hear many people say one of two things. Either they point out that God never answers their prayers or He waits too long to answer them. They want to know why.
To this I respond with what I have experienced in life. If I am there to give someone something they need every time they need it, right away, they never experience what it is like to be in need. They simply take whatever I have done for them or given them and go on their merry way. This is the least effective way to get someone to love and respect you because it is not based upon love. It is based upon what one person can do for the other. It involves manipulation and control and will be destroyed the minute the doer does not do what the taker expects. This is a co-dependent relationship and not surprisingly something I have come to find out is unGodly. That is why it doesn’t work. At least not for long. Many parents can relate to this somewhere along the line in their experience as a parent.
Now, if the person who will be referred to as “the giver” should let the other person wait for a while, experiencing the feelings of what it’s like to go without what they want, the longer the receiver waits, the more they experience a deeper and richer desire. This gives the receiver time to contemplate and think about how much they appreciate what is being done for them. The person on the giving end is able to help the person on the receiving end in this scenario and the help or gift is appreciated so much more. The gift is not taken for granted. Because of this appreciative attitude, often the receiver is prompted to want to do something for others in return. Thus when they are called upon to give, they do so out of love, not obligation. This is a more beautiful way to give and receive because it allows the seeds that have been planted to take root and become more fruitful in the future. When those who have received much are in a position to give back themselves and do so, God’s glorious light is shining through them and spreading to others.
It is this style of giving that is sometimes required in order to temper our natural human desire to have what we think we need when we think we need it. It teaches us patience and helps us overcome our desires so they don’t continue to overwhelm us all our lives. Moreover, this process strengthens our relationship with God if we turn to Him to answer our needs, trust in Him completely, and patiently await His response with the understanding that our prayers will be answered in His way, not ours. It teaches us restraint, obedience, discipline, integrity, and love. This is God’s intent.
If we were to mimic what God does for us by treating others in this same manner, we would probably have healthier personal relationships long term with those around us. God is always trying to show us proper behavior. He doesn’t want us to be co-dependent on Him and He doesn’t want us to have a co-dependent relationship with others.
God wants us to love Him as much as He loves us and desire to spend time with Him so we can form a healthy relationship with Him. He has already done everything that He needed to do to show us how much He loves us. First, He gave us the 10 Commandments, then He came down to earth, made Himself incarnate, served as our role model by showing us how to act and treat others, and last but not least, He died on a cross in order to earn everyone grace. If all this doesn’t show love, I don’t know what will.
God is love. He did all this because He wants us to desire to be in relationship with Him. He doesn’t want to be placed on the back burner. He doesn’t want us to finally pay attention to Him only when we need Him. He is like any other parent. He wants us to acknowledge Him, thank Him, praise Him, pay attention to Him, and love Him, not just because He gives us things and does things for us, but because we desire to be in relationship with Him.
Thus, by God showing us this type of love, He is showing us how to love ourselves and others properly. The giver is not worn out from always doing for the receiver and the receiver is appreciative when the giver does for them.
For those who say God never answers my prayers, I have a story. There was a young man named Tim. Tim was a teen who loved the Lord with all his heart. Tim experienced a horrible tragedy. He was burned in a fire. The skin on his nose and ears melted. His face and upper part of his body was completely disfigured. He struggled with the question, “Why Lord? Why did this happen?” The next night, Jesus appeared to Tim. He asked Tim to look into the mirror that He held and tell Him what he saw. Tim looked and was in complete amazement. Tim saw his risen glorified self. It was beautiful. His soul was beyond the beauty of anything he could have imagined. The next day Tim spent the entire day giving his testimony to everyone who came into his presence. That whole day the mirror remained by Tim’s bedside. Tim converted many people on the hospital staff, including doctors, nurses, administrative staff, etc. That evening, Tim passed away. Tim had accomplished exactly what God wanted him to and his life had full meaning and purpose. As for Tim’s parents, God answered their prayers as well. He simply answered them in His way, not theirs. If they didn’t understand God’s ways, they would have overlooked the answer they received and claimed God had never answered their prayers. But because Tim’s parents were in right relationship with the God they knew and.loved, they knew God had indeed answered their prayers. They saw how happy Tim was knowing he would be redeemed. They were happy for him. They fully embraced the fact that upon his death, he would experience a beautiful existence in heaven with God. They also took comfort in knowing their son had been a gift to those he’d shared his testimony with. They saw the reason God had allowed Tim to experience this tragedy. But better than anything, they saw how God turned this tragedy into a triumph. Tim’s life had complete purpose and meaning. Therein lies the wisdom of our loving God.
God knows what He’s doing. All He asks us to do is trust Him completely…with all our heart and all our mind.