So Easy To Read, So Hard To Do: God, Are You Not Willing To Answer My Prayers? Part IV (Matthew 8:1,2) (XXX)

This is the thirtieth (and the fourth in this mini-series, God, Are You Not Willing To Answer My Prayers?) in a series of blogs on the ease of reading the words of Jesus in the book of Matthew … and the difficulty of following them.

When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. And behold a leper came and worshipped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” The Jesus put out His and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately the leprosy was cleansed.
(Matthew 8:1, 2)

In Matthew 8:1, 2, Jesus healed the leper. We celebrate the healing and praise God for it.

During the healing process, the leper said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Jesus said, “I am willing”, and the leper was cleansed.

That story can lead one to think: Jesus was willing to cleanse the leper; now, if my prayers go unanswered is it because He is unwilling?

Let’s look more closely at unanswered prayer.

First, unanswered prayer is a reality.

In II Corinthians 12: 7, 8, Paul writes of his experience with unanswered prayer.

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded three times that it might depart from me.

Paul prayed. No answer.

Paul prayed a second time. No answer.

You may shake your fist at reality, but reality it is: some prayers go unanswered.

Second, some prayers are answered, but not the way we want.

Back to Paul and his prayer to remove the thorn in his flesh. Paul prayed a third time and God answered (II Corinthians 12:9):

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is make perfect in weakness.”

Paul received an answer – just not the one for which he prayed. The thorn remained.

At times we feel so much pain –  pain that, from our perspective and prayers, God could remove so easily, pain that reaches the very foundations of faith – that our unanswered prayers force a choice, and some choose to give up on God.

Another response is modeled by Paul (II Corinthians 12:9). The thorn would not be removed and God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Paul responded, “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

God has made it clear in scripture and in life that unanswered prayer is a reality. What remains is our response.

_______________________

Links to the previous blogs in this series can be found at Links to So Easy To Read, So Hard To Do.

About drjstewart

Christian, husband, father, educator, writer, and photographer.
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