When God Doesn’t Answer

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts; neither are your ways my ways, declared the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” ~ Isaiah 55:8-9

In the wake of Rebekah M’s great post about bringing new life to this world, I have some sadder news to report. Earlier this week, a friend of mine sent out a prayer request – his brother’s 17-yr-old girlfriend was pregnant. To make matters worse, her father was going to press charges against him for statutory rape. The only way he wouldn’t press charges was if she got an abortion. To make matters worse still, this was not the first time he faced this predicament. I don’t have all the details and I’m not sure if he was threatened with criminal charges in the past, but I do think he had an ex-girlfriend who got an abortion.

Clearly, this situation needed all kinds of prayer. In a word, I think Scooby Doo said it best when he said, “ruh-roh” (yes I work with kids). So, I prayed all day. I prayed hard. I prayed and I asked everybody else I knew to pray with me. We prayed for the brother, the girlfriend, her father, the unborn child. We prayed for hearts to be softened, repentence to occur, mercy to be given, the baby to just be saved no matter what it took, and so on. We prayed for revelations of God’s true and pure love, real love, that they would stop confusing it with this false version that got them into so much trouble. We prayed for all kinds of other things too. The couple wanted to keep the baby, and if they didn’t keep it, my friend (the one requesting the prayer) was offering to adopt. It was a win-win – she was 17 and pregnant by mistake, they weren’t ready to raise a child, while he already has several children, he and his wife were talking about making their family bigger anyway, the baby would stay with someone biologically related – no-brainer. So we prayed into that as well, and if it wasn’t God’s will, then for Him to send an adoptive home their way.

After a day of prayer and my heart just breaking for this unborn baby and for the position this 17-yr-old girl was in, I started to feel strongly that the key to this was the couple. That they needed to be the ones to pray. They needed to repent and submit and pray together, or this wouldn’t work. So I went on the computer to send that message to my friend, and I got word that it was done. The abortion had happened. This got me thinking, what went wrong? If I had acted sooner at all, could I have saved this baby?

I had my guesses, but I looked into it a little more to be sure. I was expecting, and I was right, to read a lot about how God won’t answer prayers that don’t correspond with His will, or if we don’t truly believe in His ability. Yes, God tells us He will answer our prayers if we believe that He can (“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” ~ Matthew 21:22). I have seen Him transform a woman’s heart regarding abortion before; I have no doubt that this problem is not too big for Him. So, I believed Him for it – everyone who prayed did. And clearly, abortion is not in God’s will ever. Repentance, love, and wisdom are always in His will, so that wasn’t the issue either.

Then I read about if we have unconfessed sin, it can come between us and God. This is a tricky one, but I’m aware of it. Before I get into really intense prayer sessions, I do typically spend some time with God, so that if there is something I’m harboring that’s keeping me from God, I can get rid of it and get on with my prayer. I did that this time too. Unless God was holding back information from me, that wasn’t the issue. If you’re not in the habit of doing that, start. I highly recommend it.

However, that doesn’t mean that the 17-yr-old and my friend’s brother didn’t have unconfessed sin in their hearts. And wouldn’t you know, the very next thing I read was a paragraph about how it had to be the right people praying. That confirmed my hunch. We can pray for people, and often our prayers do get answered. However, we can’t pray their prayers for them. We can’t submit their problems to God on their behalf, so that God can take them over and fix the situations. There comes a point when they need to do that for themselves, and this abortion was a painful reminder of that.

God gave us all free will, and our free will is the one limitation God placed on Himself. He cannot move in us against our will. When I prayed for this couple and this father, when we all prayed for them, all He could do was knock on the doors to their hearts. If they’d opened the door the slightest bit, given Him the slightest crack to move through, He could have moved mightily. They didn’t. They probably wanted to, but were probably consumed with the problems at hand – bearing down on all of the horrible what-ifs and contemplating what they could do about it – rather than giving those problems to God to see what He could do about it. It’s a natural instinct, I suppose. When we feel our world slipping away, we don’t want to throw our hands up and let it go, especially if we don’t fully know God – we hold on even tighter.

I guess this is a reminder to check in with yourself and check in with God when these situations come up, to see if you’re meant to be used in a counseling role. In my case, I didn’t actually know the couple, so all I could do is pray hard and pass on messages to the people I did know, as God dictated. I could have acted faster, but I asked God about it, and even repented it. He said it wasn’t my fault, but it’s something to definitely keep in mind for the future.

That said, there is still a lot to be prayed for. A baby, a wanted baby, has been aborted. My friend’s brother and his girlfriend are grieving, upset, questioning God, and the enemy has them exactly where he wants them to say “look, God didn’t answer you, what’s the point of believing?” There is guilt being felt by all parties, there is anger, there is regret….there is a whole gamut of things. So, even though our previous prayers didn’t work, I humbly ask that you keep these three people in prayer, and pray that their hearts would soften and that they would see a revelation of who God really is – so they’d know who they’ve been blocking out and would finally let Him in. Pray that they would find love, peace, and mercy in His pure beautiful light, and that they would finally know what those things really are. Pray as God leads you. In advance, I thank you for joining me here. If three people come to truly know the Lord because of this, that baby will not have died in vain.

Jesus, this is a storm. This is tragic, and it’s a baby I prayed so hard to save. I really believed You would, since I saw You do it before. I lost sight of HOW you answer prayers, and I’m sorry for that. I trust You God, that Your ways are so much greater than our ways, and I know that You can use this situation, however tragic, to reveal Yourself and ultimately work for the good of all three of these people. I submit my disappointment in You God, and I repent it. Instead, now I rejoice, because I know that this ISN’T beyond You God, and You DO have it all in Your hands. I trust You to move God, I trust You to take care of these three people, and I thank You for everything You’re going to do. Jesus, I love You with all of my heart.

Thank you all, and God bless!

~Rebekah A

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