There is a song by country music icon Garth Brooks. In it, he sings about how, at a football game, he and his wife ran into his “old high school flame.” Years earlier when he was in high school he had prayed so hard that God “would make her mine.”
As we listen to the song we’re supposed to make the connection. If God had granted that request back in high school he wouldn’t have met his wife. He goes on to sing, “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”
I think that’s a helpful perspective to think about! What if God simply had a bigger picture in mind than we do? What if he was more wise than we were? What if he knew what was best for us better than we did?
Well, he does!
What if some of our prayers were somehow misdirected? What if, instead of seeking God’s will within us, our prayers were always focused on lesser things?
In 1 John 5:14-15, the apostle says: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”
There’s a lot in those two verses. But we can’t miss the detail about asking for things “according to his will.” Only God fully knows his own will . We don’t. That’s why we need to trust him.
In his song, Brooks sings: “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.” From a theological perspective I need point out that God always does answer our prayers even if it seems as if they are “unanswered.” It’s just that God, in his great wisdom and love for us, is working in ways which our own pea-sized brains can’t always comprehend.
Seek God. Seek his will. Go to him in prayer. Don’t lose heart. He hasn’t lost yours.
Some of God’s greatest gifts are prayers that are answered according to his wisdom, and not ours.
–My latest podcast is called “Is the world getting more argumentative? (and how to respond)” Click here to listen, or look for ‘The Pulse Podcast with Matthew Ruttan’ wherever you subscribe to podcasts: iTunes (Apple), Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or TuneIn.
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.