Something funny happened after I wrote the first draft for this podcast. I’ll share it with you later.
In the meantime, I have a question for you. Are you having trouble trusting God when prayers seem unanswered? I have one especially puzzling unanswered prayer that’s testing my faith to its outermost limits. How do I hang onto my faith in the face of fearing for the safety and wellbeing of people I love?
Years ago, when I stopped trusting God after some important prayers seemed unanswered, I brought a bunch of sorrows into my life. This happened to me a couple of times. I never want to go on that desert journey ever again. Ouch.
My first desert journey began as a teenager. I prayed my parent’s marriage would be healed and that our family would live whole and happily ever after. I was tired and soul-sick of the regular upheavals rocking our home like a boat on stormy waves.
God didn’t calm our sea.
My parent’s stormy marriage eventually ended with a dramatic divorce whose tidal wave devastated the entire family. By the time the first separation happened, I was already estranged from faith. I followed a foolish path into the wilderness of unhealthy choices.
By the time I hit bottom and reached out for God, I was a shattered soul.
Nowadays, at any one time, I have at least a dozen ongoing prayer requests I’m regularly bringing to God. Some of them I pray daily. Some of those I pray frequently throughout each day. For you see, in my thirties, I again learned my lesson not to allow faith to fizzle out when prayers seem unanswered.
It’s foolish to stop believing God’s still in control. As my husband says, “Fear takes over when we lose faith.”Fear takes over when we lose faith. #Faith #Quote Click To Tweet
Fear took over in my thirties when the sudden, unexpected, and unexplained death of my dad rocked my boat from its safe harbor. I didn’t lose my faith completely. I lost most of my trust in God. I doubted God loved me and I stopped attending church. Then I doubted my husband loved me. As a result, our marriage threatened to tear loose from its mooring too.
Thankfully, God proved He was still in control. Through a series of providential prompts, I found my way back to trust. Several more devastating events soon followed my recommitment and subsequent baptism. This time I was able to choose to trust because I knew the alternative would bring me into a desert of suffering.
Not trusting God brings us fear.
Fear isn’t a nice feeling and it’s a lousy friend. It’s the neighbor who allows its vicious dog the run of the neighborhood. The unruly canine nips at our heels when we try to go for a leisurely walk. Even when it’s in its master’s house, it disrupts our peace of mind because we constantly wonder when it’s going to show up and show us its incisors up close and scary.
Fear causes us to dwell on the worst-case scenarios. It inhibits serenity. It squelches peace. It sabotages our faith.
Faith and trust are the muscles that require regular exercise.
They are always better options than fear.
But how do we hang on in the prayer trenches? How do we keep faith in the face of disappointment and discouragement?
What I’ve discovered during my six decades of alternating desert and oasis walks is that God’s ways are way beyond our understanding.
Listen to what Psalm 90:4 NIV has to say about God’s sense of time:
“For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.”
How can we comprehend the mind of One who considers a thousand days as a night’s sleep? No wonder so many prayers seem slow to be answered. God’s not in a rush.
Our lifespan rushes by. Gray hairs and wrinkles are unstoppable. The clock ignores our need for more time and keeps on ticking until we’re on our deathbeds amazed at the speed our lives whizzed by.
God does not change. Nor does He need to. Choosing to keep trusting God when prayers seem unanswered is an act of faith, obedience, and worship. Nothing brings me closer to His throne than telling God I choose to trust Him in the middle of a messy season of life—in the middle of seemingly unanswered prayers.
Nothing wells my heart with more potent joy than when I pour out praise in the middle of not understanding what’s happening around me.
Trusting God doesn’t mean we won’t have tears. Trusting God means our tears won’t be bitter ones. They’ll be sweet offerings He counts and collects. Tears are silent prayers God hears and holds dear. The Holy Spirit groans on our behalf as He translates them into a Heavenly language. God can be trusted to answer them in His perfect timing.
Love’s luster shines the loveliest when we trust God in our darkest hour.
And now for the funny incident, I referred to at the beginning of this podcast.
After I’d written the first draft, I turned on Spotify and did some holy dancing and singing along with Tim Timmons’ song: This is the Day. The words of the song blessed me and reminded me what I’d written wasn’t Wendy inspired. It was Holy Hope inspired. While the song was ending, I heard a new sound accompanying the piece. My cat, Deja, was purring loudly as she witnessed my exuberance in action. The joy of the Lord had overflown and fluffed up my fuzzy cat’s fur with serenity too.
And now I’d like to close with a poem:
When we consider our trials
in the light of eternity
and remember a thousand years
are like the length of one night’s sleep
we let go of understanding
each plan God has for you and me
and instead, know and enjoy Him
as our place of serenity.
I’m nosy to know what Bible verse is helping you hang tight to hope?Belief is the breakwater against despair. #amwriting #memoir Click To Tweet
Blessings as we believe,
P.S. One of the prayers I’ve been praying for several years recently got answered.
I asked God to open the doors He wanted to be opened in my writing life. This summer a book proposal of mine drew the attention of one of my favorite literary agents when its book hook was shortlisted in a Books & Such Literary Agency Contest. I’m pleased (and praising God) to announce that agent and author Cynthia Ruchti is now representing me. May the Lord’s will be done in our publishing endeavors.
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20 thoughts on “Trusting God when #Prayers Seem Unanswered”
So precious, Wendy! I was just telling my best friend how hope makes all the difference. I told her that knowing all is healed and whole in Jesus makes all the difference, as I trust that our all-knowing, all-seeing God knows so much better than me with my seeing and knowing but in part. She agreed and said how hard it must be for those without hope.
We talked of all the world events breaking our hearts, but I told her what I also saw was God’s holy uncovering happening. He’s shaking to reveal the unshakeable. I also told her that for me the most horrific of times was in fact the time He revealed Himself to me most powerfully in a personal and palpable way. He uncovered the unshakeable foundation of His Son in me.
I ended our conversation with some personal fears and yet that too was God’s sweet doing: uncovering my burdens to bring them to Him – the truth wrapping around me.
This post is sweet affirmation of His Spirit moving. Thank you for being His blessing.
Thank you, dear Anna, for sharing how this post was “affirmation of His Spirit moving.” Each time we doubt God can speak through us we must remember it’s all about Him–all about being Holy Hope inspired. God is so good.
Blessings ~ Wendy Mac xo
Amen. Trusting Him today and always.
Thank you, dear Melissa, for sharing this on Twitter.
“Tears are silent prayers God hears and holds dear. The Holy Spirit groans on our behalf as He translates them into a Heavenly language. God can be trusted to answer them in His perfect timing.” Wendy, that is such a powerful truth to remind ourselves in desert times.
There can also be healing in tears when not from self-absorbed pity. The tears you spoke of, I think are a longing to connect with our Creator when we don’t have the words to express our yearning. In part, due to our overwhelming emotions or the distraction of lies whispered by the enemy of our soul.
How glorious that we are given the Holy Spirit to translate for us!
Thank you, dear Manette. I love how you worded this: “The tears you spoke of, I think are a longing to connect with our Creator when we don’t have the words to express our yearning.”
Amen. I’m grateful for our Heavenly Translator.
Blessings as we ignore the liar and listen to the Holy Spirit. xo
This was what I was writing about a few years ago with my book “BARRIERS (So, if prayers are so powerful, how come mine don’t get answered?)” It was quite a journey, and I learned to see prayer not so much as a way to “get stuff” from God, but to grow and enjoy an intimate relationship with our Creator, which is more precious than any other thing we might ask for.
Wise words, dear friend. Wise words. Great book hook too. I suspect most believers have asked this question at some in their journey. 🙏🕊️✝️💌
The older I get the easier it becomes to persevere in prayer and trust the process to God. I’ve had prayers answered in the last few years that I prayed for my granddaughters when they were little girls. Now they’re grown with children of their own and I see how God has worked through my life and prayers when I thought, at one point, they may go unanswered.
At times when I can’t put into words what I want to say to God, I often say through tears…”Lord, you see my heart. You know my needs.”
Congratulations on being represented by a literary agent. That’s great news, Wendy. I signed up for your newsletter too. Blessings, Nancy
Thank you, dear Nancy. Yes, those short prayers accompanied by tears reach the throne room. Our hearts speak more words with a sigh than we could write on several pages.
I peeked at your latest lovely poem. Creation makes me sigh with pleasure too.
Blessings and thank you for boarding my newsletter bus.
For many reasons this issue of trust has been in my mind. The thing that flashed through my mind was simply, “When life turns ‘against’ us, why do people yell at, and blame, God, the very One Who never gives up on us and is the Only One Who can take us through the trouble? Have we never heard of the devil?” Just this past week my wife and I heard the final talk by a person whose mission ministry is ending, and she said the song which keeps ringing in her mind is “Trust and Obey”. Very powerful, because it happens in this order, so no trust, no obey, and that can only lead to getting into a real mess, even bigger than the original problem. May your words inspire, because God knows that evil has become rampant in our culture at every level in every way, so our prayers increase and the potential for despair rises. So we can hold onto God, and find peace that “passes understanding” since God’s “perfect love casts out fear”. “What a Friend We Have in Jesus!”
Amen to the powerful order of trust and obey. There isn’t a better way.
Blessings of joy in Jesus, dear brother,
Wendy Mac 🕊️
A most uplifting and reassuring post, dear Wendy! Fear is a monster and strong faith is needed to wrestle it to the ground each time, I’ve found. Congrats again on finding an agent.
Thank you, dear Cynthia. I love the way you worded that. Amen to being wrestlers of, and victorious against, fear through faith.
Wendy Mac 💌
Wendy, I don’t know how but somehow several blogs I was following were deleted from my reader so I haven’t been by in quite awhile.
I am amazed at your journal! I’ve never seen one like that before. So much detail and work must have gone into it, too!
Your blog was timely for me. Thank you for listening to the Lord, writing and posting it.
Blessings, prayers and hugs~🙏🤗💖
Thank you and hugs back to you, dear friend. And thanks for visiting my YouTube channel as well. Making journals is a labor of love that relaxes me. I hope to complete another one soon for a new giveaway. <3
You are very welcome, my friend.
The journal looks so labor intensive. I think if I tried it, I’d go crazy, LOL!
Would you believe mine is a moderate one? Some are so complicated that my head spins and I get lost in them. 🙂 There are simple ones too. <3
Thank you & blessings.