No matter how much planning, goes into a party, you usually forget something. Typically, it’s a bag of ice. So moments before the crowd is to arrive, you face a choice. Do you run out or just ask someone to pick up a bag of ice on their way over? In a state of panic, you call a friend and ask them to make the extra stop. And do you know what? They’re happy to do it. So over time, you begin to ask them to bring ice to all your parties. Eventually, this friend’s bringing ice whether you ask him or not.
But then, let’s say, the weirdest thing happens. You’re planning a party and your “go-to guy” for ice says “Sorry, but I can’t pick up the ice.” After months or even years of receiving ice from this friend, do you begin to wonder “Did I do something or say something to upset him?” “Am I not good enough to receive ice?” Or do you remain calm, trusting what you know about this person. Through his actions you know he’s always been responsible, caring and helpful. You know that he would bring ice if he could and that he’s certainly not denying you ice to be mean or to teach you a lesson. You see this man has shared more than just ice with you, he has shown you his heart.
My question is- has God ever told you He can’t bring the ice? Have you ever asked God for something and had your prayer left unanswered? Unanswered prayers can really hurt. Maybe you asked for healing or protection and received suffering. Maybe you asked for peace and reconciliation only to find strife. Why didn’t God show up in your life the way you wanted?
That’s just the first of many questions for God when you are left with unanswered prayer. Was it something I did? Is there anything I can do? How long must I wait? Are you listening? God welcomes your questions because He welcomes the stirrings of your heart. But when it comes to unanswered prayer, the most important question is “who?” “Who is God?” Like the friend that always brought ice, God has revealed His heart to you through His actions. Think of all the times God has shown up in your life whether you called out to Him or not. What did you learn about Him at those times? Is He spiteful, stingy and withholding? Or is He gracious, giving and even sacrificial? Is there anything, even His precious Son, that God would not give for your good?
Psalm 59:16 says God is “ my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.” Here is what I want you to know: Who God is does not change in your times of trouble. God is still your fortress and your refuge. When you are surrounded by pain, heartache and suffering God is still as loving and gracious as on the days you felt surrounded by blessings. He has not changed. In the midst of your struggles look for what you know about God to be true. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. AMEN to that!