Based on the writings of David Berg
Each one of us, at some point in our lives, have experienced deep disappointment when things just didn’t work out right, and we have perhaps wondered if God has failed us. There have been times when we have been very busy doing something that we were personally convinced was God’s Will, and therefore felt that He would bless our efforts. We prayed sincerely for God to help us, but then for some reason, it seemed God failed, and the whole thing didn’t work out! Have you ever had that happen to you?
Even when we can see the obvious NATURAL reasons and adverse CIRCUMSTANCES to explain why something didn’t work out, still, as Christians, the question that often comes to us is, “But Lord, I thought it was YOUR WILL! So why didn’t You do a MIRACLE and make it work out ANYWAY? Why did You fail me, Lord?” It’s so easy at times like that to just throw up our hands in despair and blame our failure all on God!–To “hold it against God” and allow ourselves to nourish a little BITTERNESS against Him in a corner of our heart.
The feeling of disappointment & discouragement is very real at times like that, but the question we must ask ourselves is: DID God fail? The answer, for those of us who really trust in the Lord & His Word and are obedient to it, is of course, NO. God NEVER fails, and if things go wrong, we must accept the fact that in some way, somewhere along the line WE failed, it was OUR fault.
Even good purposes and projects sometimes fail when we are not doing them for the right MOTIVES, or if we are doing them in pride and self-confidence and not giving GOD all the credit and glory. ANOTHER important reason why it may sometimes seem like the Lord “doesn’t answer prayer” and allows things to “fail”–even things that are definitely HIS WILL–is if we DISOBEY God and DON’T BELIEVE Him! Everything can be going according to His plan, and be leading toward just what we have been praying for, but if we do not FOLLOW THROUGH with our faith and do not have the kind of faith we need to believe Him and obey Him INSTANTLY when He tells us to, then things just may not happen!
God often “sets up” a situation just perfectly in answer to our prayers, but then we still have to do OUR part and OBEY and DO what He tells us to do WHEN He tells us to do it! He will create a golden opportunity, and then tell us, “NOW!–Do it NOW!”–And we need to OBEY Him in that split second and do what He tells us to do!
This is so often true when witnessing to others about God’s Love: The Lord will do the miracle of bringing some searching, desperate soul our way and will put a strong compulsion in our heart to talk to them about Jesus. But if we disobey and fail to do our part and don’t seize that golden opportunity, then everything the Lord did to bring it about will have been in vain, and His purpose won’t be accomplished. But if we OBEY INSTANTLY when He shows us what to do, there’s no limit to what He can accomplish through us!–No matter what the obstacles or difficulties!
A clear example of INSTANT OBEDIENCE being essential to accomplish God’s Will is found in the Bible in Acts 8:26-38: Philip the evangelist had been preaching God’s Word in Samaria (Northern Israel) when “the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, ARISE, and go toward the South, to the highway that goes from Jerusalem to the desert country of Gaza.” God was planning to do something really great, and wanting to use Philip to do it. The Bible says Philip OBEYED! “And he AROSE and WENT!”
When he arrived at the highway, there was “a man of GREAT AUTHORITY, the chief treasurer of Queen Candace of Ethiopia.” This Ethiopian dignitary believed in God, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was now returning to Ethiopia. And as he rode in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah Chapter 53, which is one of the most amazing prophecies in the entire Bible! 5OO years before Jesus was born, this chapter had predicted Jesus’ life and death with amazing accuracy! This was God’s PERFECT set-up!–But Philip still had to do HIS part to fulfil God’s plan!
“Then the Holy Spirit said to Philip, ‘GO up to his chariot!'” What did Philip do? Did he say, “Wait a minute, I’d better think this one over. He’s an important foreign official, and look at all those big muscular armed guards around him. If I go up to the official’s chariot, I could get in real trouble. I might even get killed!” Is this what he did? No. He obeyed INSTANTLY! The Bible says, “And Philip RAN straight to him!” He RAN straight up to that chariot surrounded by all those armed guards and asked the chief treasurer, “Do you understand what you’re reading?”
He confessed that he didn’t, and asked Philip to explain it to him, which Philip gladly did! And as a result, the Ethiopian was CONVERTED and became a CHRISTIAN! And because he was a man of great authority and influence, he then went back and was instrumental in converting the ENTIRE NATION of Ethiopia to Christianity!–All because of Philip’s obedience to follow God’s plan, and his INSTANT obedience when God told him, “NOW’S the moment! GO!” It showed that Philip truly had FAITH in God!
Here then is one answer to the question, “Why are some of our prayers not answered?”: It is often because of our LACK of FAITH, our lack of really believing in His Word. We often simply are not FULLY convinced that God is really WITH us, and that He is really going to DO what He promised to do! We may tentatively believe that God is going to do SOMETHING, and follow the GENERAL direction that He leads us, but when it comes down to the CRUNCH, and God tells us to follow THROUGH and do OUR part, that’s when we find out if we REALLY believe God is with us, or if we’re just coasting along wishfully HOPING He’s with us, but not really too SURE.
If we’re just cautiously going forward, not making any definite moves or really committing ourselves until we’re “sure” it’s going to work out or succeed, then that is NOT faith! If you do not DEFINITELY BELIEVE that God is with you and going to protect and bless you in your endeavour, then you will NOT have the faith to OBEY INSTANTLY when He asks you to put your faith into ACTION! If you have any RESERVATIONS, if you have any DOUBTS, then you are going to HESITATE to obey and take definite action!–And as a result, God’s golden opportunity will pass you by!
If we fail to obey God and put our faith into believing ACTION in that golden opportunity, that moment of decision, then it is WE who have failed, and NOT God. If our heart is not truly trusting, and–as the Bible says–we are double-minded, how CAN we expect God to answer our prayers? James 1:6-8 says, “Pray to God with FAITH, without doubting or wavering. He that wavers is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed with the wind. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. That man should not think that he shall receive ANYTHING from the Lord.”
WITH faith, God can do miracles, and we can accomplish ANYTHING! But WITHOUT faith, we can’t accomplish anything! As 2Chronicles 2O:2O says, “Believe in the Lord your God, so shall you be ESTABLISHED; believe His Prophets, so shall you PROSPER.” Isaiah 7:9 warns, however, “If you will NOT believe, surely you will NOT be established.”
Now sometimes the circumstances may not appear to be “just right”. Certain NEW factors may have entered the equation, and the outlook for success may look uncertain. Here’s where our faith really gets TESTED! Here’s where we find out if we really trust that God is with us and is going to answer our prayers.
When Abraham was 1OO years old, and his wife Sarah was 9O years old, the Lord told them that she was going to bear a son. Romans 4:19-21 says, “And he, not being weak in faith…staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; being FULLY PERSUADED (convinced) that, what He had PROMISED, He was ABLE also to PERFORM.” And Hebrews 11:11 says of Sarah, “she was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged Him FAITHFUL Who had promised!”
Do YOU judge God to be faithful? When you pray and ask God to help you, are you “FULLY PERSUADED” that He IS going to help you? If so, then keep ON believing even when the outlook seems uncertain.–And when He tells you to DO something, obey INSTANTLY, and He’ll do miracles for you too!
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