The harsh realities of life smashed right between the eyes of our/my Owensboro community Thursday, October 15, 2012, leaving it staggering from the blow when we lost 2 beloved community members in their fights against cancer. Radio Host Joe Lowe of station WOMI, call number 1490 and 13 year old Lane Goodwin of Beach Grove.
It also hit smack into our hearts as their plights were well known to the public through radio, TV and social networking. This media awareness allowed even those who never even met them to care enough for them that they reached arms of loving compassion around them, and in the touch felt some of the agony that they must have been going through.
An Innumerable number of people were pulling for them. Undoubtedly countless prayers were said for recovery for the both of them but somehow God did not chose to answer with a “Yes, I will.”
This “No” was very hard to take, particularly so for a friend of mine who encountered and followed young Lane on Face Book.
“The Bible says if we ask in faith the Lord will answer our prayers!’ my friend vented in obvious disappointment and exasperation. He talked about how the Bible says that God will even move mountains when we ask and how the Lord tells us to just keep asking. “Why wasn’t God doing what the Bible said He would?” he wondered.
I encouraged him to vent his feelings .He spoke of the tears he shed throughout the day when he heard the sad news of his passing. I’ve felt this same disappointment at various times and have asked the same kinds of questions.
Certainly it wasn’t that there were not enough people praying and so they didn’t get a hold of God’s attention. Could it possibly be that out of all these praying people that there wasn’t anyone who was living a good enough life that God would listen to their prayers? I don’t believe so. It couldn’t have been that no one had enough faith. My friend himself said he had believed that God would heal young Lane and that he was actually surprised and somewhat disillusioned when God allowed him to die.
I prayed the Lord would give me something from his Word to help us both deal with the question of why the prayer he and so many other concerned people prayed had not been answered with a yes. I hoped for some insight to help us both to trust that God’s Word was in fact consistent with His actions when he chose to answer “No.”
In the back of my mind I recalled one scripture about God answering prayer that gave a stipulation that was not mentioned in the passages that my friend had referred to. I searched the concordance and found ?1 John 5:14 that gives the promise to answer prayer but gives this stipulation “if you ask anything according to his will”.
My conclusion was that it must not have been God’s will or he would have.
I reminded my friend that all the details and stipulations of the promises are not all laid out in one place like a sterile point by point manual but that we must search the scripture to cross reference and find out the details.
This approach was also very difficult for my friend to take.
I talked about some biblical examples of God not choosing to answer prayer of even the best of people. One was the apostle Paul and the other was Jesus Christ Himself.
The apostle Paul had a “thorn in the flesh” that he asked the Lord to heal but his request was denied 3 times.
Jesus awaiting his eminent crucifixion asked God in the Garden to “take this cup (of the wrath of God) from me” but in perfect faith he added “but not my will but thine be done”
God had his reasons for saying “No” in both cases. In the case of Christ it was so that his death could redeem the whole world.
We will never know the whole story of why God chose to do what He did until in this next life when we will see the whole picture. We do know that God loved the world so much that he gave his only son to allow us to be with God in eternity. I believe that God’s choices will be for reasons that make very positive differences through eternity; we just can’t see them yet . All we can see is only the tip of the proverbial ice berg. Only God can see the greater reality of all that is there. Only he really knows what is best and only he can truly see things in the full light of eternity.
Until then I pray for God’s comfort and for faith like Christ’ that can say “Not my will but thine be done” Without it we will never have a full healing of the heart.
References: Knowing God Tab At The Top Of The Page.
Joe Lowe Video On The Free Worship and Inspirational Music page.