“I was talking with a neighbor the other day,” Stan commented. “He was quite upset.”
“God,” was Stan’s one-word answer. He then continued, “It seems that my neighbor has been going through some tough stuff. He has prayed asking God to remove or to change what’s going on, which hasn’t happened, and he wanted to talk about it.”
“About why God may not have answered his prayer, or why God may have said, ‘No’. Is that it?”
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “Of course I couldn’t tell him for certain why God might be doing that, but I was able to offer a possibility from the standpoint of what happened with Jesus.”
“What kind of possibility?”
“That God may want to use my neighbor for kingdom purposes,” Stan replied, “and the only way to do that is to have my neighbor go through what he’s going through.”
“I’m not sure I follow,” I said.
“Okay,” Stan replied. “Let’s look at what happened with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. He prayed and asked His Father to remove what He was about to face.”
“Going to the cross?”
“That’s right,” Stan replied. “And, as you may remember, Jesus concluded His prayer by saying, in essence, that it was okay for His Father to do whatever He needed to do. And that’s the way it went.”
“The way it went, how?”
“That God the Father could not spare Jesus, His only begotten Son, and redeem the lost world,” Stan said. “Jesus was the way to salvation and redemption for the lost world, and the cross was the way to accomplish that. And it might be the same thing for my neighbor.”
“What same thing?”
“That perhaps God wants to use my neighbor for His kingdom purposes,” Stan replied. “And maybe having my neighbor go through what he’s going through is the only way to get my neighbor to the point where God’s will is done in and through him.”
“Oh,” I said, “kind of like getting your neighbor to the point of saying the same thing that Jesus said about going along with His Father’s will. Is that it?”
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “That might be why God seems to be silent.”
Bible verses to consider:
And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” Matthew 26:39.
He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, thy will be done.” Matthew 26:42.
And He went a little beyond them, and fell on the ground, and began praying that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for Thee; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what Thou wilt.” Mark 14:35-36.
For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. John 6:38.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for giving your only begotten Son so that all who believe in Him will spend eternity in your presence. Thank you that Jesus went to the cross in obedience to your provision for redeeming the lost world. Thank you, too, that you want me to be involved in your plan for such redemption. I confess that too often I don’t obey what you have for me to experience and to do in accordance with your will for the salvation and redemption of others. Please forgive me. Help me follow every step of your lead so you can use me exactly as you want in being a part of redeeming the lost world. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you accepted God’s provision of Christ’s cross so you know you will spend eternity in His presence? If no, why? Do you really want to remain separated from God for all of eternity? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with being a part of God’s provision to redeem the lost world? Are you willing to be a part of what God is doing regardless of the cost? Do you sometimes think God is asking too much of you? If you sense the need for change in any of this, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?