May 15, 2017
“You don’t understand,” or “Nobody understands me!” or “Why doesn’t anyone ever understand me?” Do you ever hear statements like these? They probably sound familiar to those of you who are parents. During my teen years, this was a frequent thought in my head that I occasionally blasted out at my parents. “Nobody really cares about me unconditionally!” just screamed in my head so often. Do you sometimes feel as though nobody is listening or understands what you are going through? And if they do understand, doesn’t it seem like they’re using that knowledge for their own agenda instead of yours!
I had the opportunity to be a visiting preacher at a small church a few weeks ago. It was different. What did you think would happen when you let a psychiatrist preach? Before prayer, people were sharing praises and requests, and an older woman offered praise for an incident a week earlier involving terrible storms and lots of damage in the area. She had a large old tree very close to her house that wasn’t going to survive the storm. A group came to her house early in the storm and prayed that nobody would be hurt and no damage would occur to the house.
Sure enough, she woke up the next day, and the tree, despite leaning toward her house, actually fell away from the house, damaging nothing, hurting no one. She was so happy God heard her prayers.
It is great that God prevented damage. But the dangerous assumption is, “Good” outcomes mean God is listening and answering our prayers; “Bad” outcomes mean God doesn’t hear or answer our prayers. This thinking is part of the schemes and lies Satan uses to dupe us. We talked about his brainwashing yesterday. Unfavorable answers do NOT mean God isn’t listening.
Well, Good News! Someone is listening and does understand. God hears all your prayers and knows exactly what you are going through and what you need. The Bible tells us that God is compassionate. He has a sympathetic understanding of your situation. He wants to ease your burden and free you from the load you carry. He is dependable. He is always there for you. He will never leave you alone. God’s love has no limits or conditions and never fails, no matter what your circumstances. He is loving and compassionate. He knows your future and how you learn. This recipe is what determines how God will answer your prayers.
You have many challenges to face, but you don’t have to face them alone. Just because you don’t get what you prayed for doesn’t mean He wasn’t listening. Remember all your childhood requests? Aren’t you glad you didn’t get some of them? In fact, you now say “no” to your kids when they ask for the same exact thing that you “couldn’t live without!”
Today, think of things that didn’t work out after you wished for and received them. Remember, we don’t always ask for the right things for our growth. Talk to God about your feelings, your fears, and your real needs. As you spend time in the Bible, you will be comforted. You will learn that God is your refuge in your time of trouble. He offers strength and help. He is ever-present. He cares for you. He wants to carry your anxiety. He will give you peace, always, but you need to look in the right places. Whether you lean on God during adversity and accept His protection, or you try to stand on your own and protect yourself is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, Thank You for Your promise to be with me, no matter what. Thank You for understanding and caring. When circumstances don’t work out the way I want them to, I mistakenly think that You don’t love me, don’t care, or are just too busy with more important people and issues. Help me resist this me-centered thinking and lie. Open my eyes to Your truth. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One you sent to deliver the good news, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
God is good, a hiding place in tough times. He recognizes and welcomes anyone looking for help, no matter how desperate the trouble. Nahum 1:7
But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress. Psalm 59:16
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13