Garth Brooks made famous a song written by Pat Alger, “Unanswered Prayers.” The refrain of the song you may remember is:
Sometimes I thank God, for unanswered prayersI like the song. I like the way Garth interprets it. However, there is a dangerous underlying message embedded in the lyrics. It is a self centeredness that views God as one who is supposed to grant us all that for which we ask and that if He does not, that is not an answer to prayer. Last time I checked, “no” is an answer, so is “wait.” Demanding or expecting that God give us all that we ask for, or viewing “no” as not answering our prayer places our wisdom above God’s and badly misunderstands our relationship with Him. It is a short step from there to believing that He does not care, or that He does not have our best in heart.
Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
Some of God’s greatest gifts, are unanswered prayers.
Paul experienced and documented God’s “no” answer. In Acts 16:6 – 7, and 2 Corinthians 12:7 – 9 are two places where Paul was given a “no” answer. In the 2 Corinthians passage, the reason was that God’s grace might be perfected in Paul. “No” is an answer, it is as much a manifestation of the Love of God as a “yes.”
What are some ways we can teach our kids this important truth? What have you done? More on this tomorrow.