Friday, January 27, 2012

Children and Answers to Prayer

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Many times we tell stories to the children about wonderful answers to prayer. We tell about Daniel in the lions' den, of David fighting Goliath, of Peter saved from prison, and of course many modern stories of people's marvelous answers to prayer.

That's all good, and I do not doubt the truth of those stories. But I am concerned about something else--sometimes there are children who have prayed for something but did not get it. I knew one little boy whose grandmother was very sick, and he prayed that she might get well; but she did not get well. She died. When children ask the Lord for something, but don't get it, then hear all these wonderful stories, they wonder what's wrong with them. Why doesn't the Lord answer their prayers too?

Well, we must think about this. We must be honest. Not all prayers get a marvelous YES answer. First, if you don't get what you asked for, that does not mean that God does not love you, or that He did not hear your prayer. He said NO instead of YES. And often His NO is more loving toward us than a YES would be. If a baby asks for a sharp knife, a loving father or mother will say NO.

Second, God's richest blessing may be in the disappointment that we suffer. If God was like a Santa Claus to Christians, giving them every trinket and luxury they ask for, many people would join the church who are not at all converted, and that would not be good at all. God's people suffer in this world along with those who are not His people.

Third, when they suffer, God suffers with them. He never forsakes them. We must remember Jesus on His cross--He prayed to the Father but He says God did not hear Him (that's in Psalm 22). Jesus felt that His Father had turned His back on Him, because He prayed, "My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matt. 27:46). There are many people in the world who have to suffer, not because God doesn't love them, but because they are faithful servants of Jesus, who honor Him by enduring their suffering.

The Good News is that God will NEVER forsake you; He does hear every prayer you pray; and He will give you what is best for you and what is best for others. Even the little boy's grandmother who died--someday we will know why the Lord permitted that--and we will love the Lord more because we will know that His answer was because He loves us. We can trust Him, because He died for us on His cross.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: 1994 Phone Message.
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