Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing. 1 Kings 18:21
What do you do when your dreams are shattered and your prayers go unanswered? Or more specifically, what do you do when you pray and ask God for something and you don’t get it?
You prayed that God would help you win the game, but your team lost.
You prayed that you would get financing for your company, but at the last minute the venture capital that was promised to you didn’t materialize.
You prayed that your marriage would succeed, but your wife got involved with the guy who works in her office and walked out on you, leaving you with two kids, five and seven.
You prayed that your child would recover, but he died, the most devastating thing that ever could have happened.
Your heart cries out, “God, where were you? You could have made this come together so easily.” Then as a dark cloud of gloom and doubt obscures your focus, you begin asking, “Where is God in relationship to my broken dream?” When we are confronted with situations such as I’ve just described, we usually forget what we really know. You need to hold on to what your head tells you, rather than what your broken heart says.
When your dreams are shattered and your prayers go unanswered, remember that the promises of God are often more narrow than your expectations. In other words, God never promised to give you everything you asked for. Instead, He promised to meet your needs. He promised never to leave you–not for a moment. He promised to give you peace, as you trust Him. He promised to bring healing and hope. He promised to give you the assurance that your sins are forgiven and that you will live in His presence for all eternity.
When your dreams are shattered and your prayers go unanswered, remember that His love for you is constant. “OK,” you ask, “how can He love me and not give me what I ask for?” Question: Do you love your children? Do you give them everything they ask for? Have you ever wondered how many people would join the line to sign up to be Christians, if by simply asking God for something, you got it? I’m reminded, however, that this may obscure the reality that God does answer prayer, that He does provide for His own, and that He cares for you far more than you as a loving parent can ever care for your own children.
When your dreams are shattered and your prayers are unanswered, remind yourself that your love for Him must go beyond the gifts that He gives to you, the prayers that He answers, the blessings He pours out in your life.
Crafty merchants sometimes use a ploy called “bait and switch” in marketing. For example, they advertise something at a very good price. That’s the bait. You respond to the ad and go to the store, only to be told that they are out of the advertised product and have a better one for more money, or else what is advertised isn’t quite complete. You have to have something else to make it work. That’s the switch.
God never does that, but sometimes the hucksters who want to make the Gospel very popular never tell you the whole story that you find in the Bible. It tells you that God loves you and accepts you unconditionally, but it also says that He has a will for you which may be different from yours, and that through times of testing and difficulty you will experience how great He is and eventually learn to say, “Thy will be done, Father!”
Hudson Taylor, missionary to China, was right when He said, “God always gives His best to those who leave the choice to Him.” Be encouraged. God is still in control and He cares for His own.
Resource reading: Daniel 3.
- 1 Kings 18:21