Unanswered Prayers

When someone dies, we struggle with the “why”. Why didn’t God answer our prayers? Why didn’t God answer the prayers of everyone else? Why was this life cut short? As Easter approaches and we solemnly remember the Last Supper and the gruesome events that unfolded, the “why” questions of the disciples are laid bare.

Jesus was taken by force from the garden. He was tried for false crimes, beaten to the edge of life, and brutally hung on a cross to die in agony and ridicule.

His disciples and followers watched it all. They had grown up in the Jewish tradition of prayer. And Jesus, their esteemed rabbi, taught them how to pray with new expectation (Matt 6:9–13). Jesus revealed that God knew each one of them intimately. God loved them dearly. Not only is God the Almighty YAHWEH of Israel, He is their adoring Heavenly Father, their Abba.

So imagine their confusion and grief as Jesus’ friends and family watched the horror of events. Their prayers for Jesus’ deliverance and rise to power in Israel went unanswered. God remained silent. What about God as His loving Father? And what about Jesus’ words to them, “I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it” (John 14:13–14).

“Ask Me for anything and I will do it.” But You won’t heal someone who’s doing Your good work here on earth? You won’t allow a young mother to live a few more years? You won’t spare a young child with a bright smile and an even brighter future?

On that dark weekend two thousand years ago, what the disciples didn’t know was God’s plan. They waded through darkness, watching evil and injustice seemingly prevail. They didn’t see God’s work of resurrection and new life. They perceived an untimely stripping of Jesus’ earthly ministry, not comprehending the heavenly throne and Christ’s new work through the Spirit––work which now continues throughout all generations until He returns.

Jesus told His disciples, “Anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. They will do even greater things than these” (John 14:12).

Jesus, one man on earth, then multiplied His good work infinitely through the saints. The Holy Spirit indwells and works through believers for the glory of God and the redemption of all.

It’s true that God didn’t answer the disciple’s prayers for Jesus’ deliverance and rise to power in the way they expected. But God was not silent. He was not MIA. God’s awesome plan of redemption for all people and all things ignited and set a new course for human history.

And our Heavenly Father’s awesome plan continues today in and through His people.

So what about our prayers that seem to go unanswered? Specifically, what about prayers for healing and deliverance that end in death? If God doesn’t answer these “good” prayers that would bring glory to Him, why would He care about any of our other prayers that pale in comparison? Why pray for a new job, a new relationship, or healing from a cold?

Remember Jesus’ words, “Ask anything in My name.” God desires that our hearts would align with His as we grow in Christlikeness. So we pray for His will to be done. We make our requests known, willingly leaving the results to Him and committing to trust and praise Him regardless of outcome. This is how we glorify the Father through prayer. We join Christ in presenting our requests, we trust that He cares for every aspect of our lives (1 Peter 5:7), and by faith we believe that His good and perfect will be done. Even if we don’t understand this side of heaven.

We can’t see the innerworkings of God’s awesome plan of redemption. But in faith, we trust He’s sovereign and active.

And we hold fast to the promise of eternal life with Christ. So what if…  

What if when Christ-followers die, they aren’t whisked to heaven to fly around on angel wings until Christ returns to earth? What if their work in God’s plan of redemption continues from a new heavenly vantage? What if what we pray for on earth is answered, but it manifests in heaven? We know life on earth will end for all of us, but we also know that’s just the beginning. Now we see in part as if through a keyhole, but then we will see through an open door.

We’ve talked in previous blogs about our work in the new heavens and new earth. God’s invitation to join in His redemption plan goes beyond our earthly existence. And Christ affirms He has prepared a place for us in our Father’s house. So why should we think that between the time we leave this life and the time of Christ’s return we will merely be waiting, waiting, waiting… Whatever our part in God’s heaven work, it is worthy of hope and praise!

This Easter weekend, let’s praise and sit in awe of the one true God who promises to raise us to new life through His resurrection power. But let’s also praise Him for the work He asks everyone to join in that plan––both here on earth and beyond. Remember, Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Our Father in Heaven, holy is Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…” On earth as it is in heaven.

Friends, our struggles through pain, despair, and confusion of losing loved ones are real. But there’s hope in the darkness. “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9).

In our mourning, let’s cling to faith. Let’s pray through Scripture and align our hearts with God’s. Through the Spirit’s strength, let’s offer praise to Jesus for His promise of eternal life. Let’s praise Him for His plan of redemption whereby the lives of men and women and boys and girls continue to impact others in this world, far beyond their last moments with us.

Jesus is the God of resurrection and new life! Although we may never understand the “why” this side of heaven, we know that His awesome plan includes each one of us and those who have gone before us. No life is wasted. Christ’s impactful and redemptive work through His people continues on earth and in heaven.

Growth, Hope & Healing, Sisterhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

Who Do You Say I Am?

Many of us know the greatest stories ever told. And often our focus is on the action or players or outcome. But the stories of the Bible have another purpose. A.W. Tozer said, “What you think about God is the most important thing about you.” Continue reading

Growth, Hope & Healing, Real Life Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

Fear or Faith at Work?

It’s no fun living like a double agent with different personas at work v. home. How do we overcome fear of living out our faith at work? Do we have to talk about Jesus in order to be a witness at work? Here are 3 critical truths. Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Hope & Healing, Sisterhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

Why Work?

The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why” (Mark Twain). If we’re honest, we all want to know the why… Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Hope & Healing, Sisterhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

Greatest Gift: A Partridge in a Pear Tree

What’s your favorite Christmas carol? One of my all-time favorites is the “12 Days of Christmas” as sung by John Denver and the Muppets. Corny, maybe. But then I found out the meaning behind the words… Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Hope & Healing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

No More Masks

Masks. We all wear them. We’re afraid to let people see and know the real us. We hide behind our masks and often fake it. But freedom comes when we live out our truth. Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Hope & Healing, Sisterhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

What's Your Superpower?

If you were approached by a genie wanting to grant you one wish for any superhero power, what would you ask for? My first thought: ask for something I could use in the battle between good and evil… Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Hope & Healing, Sisterhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

Work in Heaven?

As Labor Day approaches, most Americans anticipate a well-deserved day off work. For many of us, work is a daily grind. But what if work isn’t supposed to be a grind? And what if our work doesn’t end with our time on earth? Have you ever thought about work in heaven? Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Hope & Healing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

Better to Have Loved & Lost?

As human beings, we cannot live healthy, abundant, prolonged lives without love. We are created to love. We long for love. We will do crazy things to show our love. But at some point in our lives, we will all lose love. What then? Continue reading

Growth, Hope & Healing, Real Life Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

2018: The Year of Open Doors

As we approach the mid-point of the year, most New Year’s resolutions are a faint and distant memory. But what if 2018 could still become “The Year of Open Doors” for you? Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Hope & Healing, Real Life Stories, Sisterhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

Sit Among Your Weeds

Today I start with a confession: I’ve been struggling. Weeds are the straw that broke the camel’s (my) back, so to speak. The last little burden that became unbearable. But from my weeds emerged a transformative message from God… Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Hope & Healing, Real Life Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

Consider My Bluebonnets

Bluebonnets are to Texas what tulips are to Holland, azaleas are to Augusta, and cherry blossoms are to Washington DC. But what makes bluebonnets so remarkable is that they’re WILD. These words came to mind: “Consider how the wildflowers grow…” Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Real Life Stories, Sisterhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

A Promise from God

Whether our requests are big or small, at some point we all wonder if God hears us. Does the Creator of the universe care about our prayers for a new job, loneliness, a persistent cough, or help paying bills? In a word: Yes! Not only does He care, He promises so much more. Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Hope & Healing, Sisterhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

The Intersection of Faith and Work

We all work. Our workplaces may look different, but they share a commonality: intrinsic value to God’s Kingdom. Your work has eternal value. Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Real Life Stories, Sisterhood | Tagged , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

Which Way Did He Go?

We can’t focus on both Jesus AND circumstances. It’s impossible! If we choose to focus on circumstances, suddenly it’s as if Jesus is gone. Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Hope & Healing, Real Life Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

Why “Do Good” For No Reason?

We genuinely want to help others. But it hurts when there’s no response or, worse, a bad response to our good efforts. So why keep trying? Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Hope & Healing, Real Life Stories, Sisterhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

When Enough is Never Enough

When was the last time you had everything you wanted? Splurge to lift your spirits. Save for something big. What is enough, really? Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Hope & Healing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

Cross the Starting Line - Just Start!

Is it harder to cross the starting line or the finish line? We often don’t move forward because we’re too afraid of the unknown. Just start! Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Hope & Healing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
2 Comments

Getting What You Ask For and More

If a fairy godmother was standing in front of you right now tapping her glittery wand, what would you ask for? What’s your #1 wish? Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Sisterhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

What Would Your Last Words Be?

If you knew you were going to die and you could speak to a group of people, what would you say? This is the story of Rachel Barkey, age 37. Continue reading

Growth, Hope & Healing, Real Life Stories, Sisterhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

I Am Second

We push hard to be first but we’re broadsided by reality. Life can stink! New life is possible once we stop trying to control our destiny. Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Hope & Healing, Real Life Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

Treasures in the Lost and Found

Have you lost something you loved and couldn’t replace? Favorite things are too precious to easily let go. That’s how God feels about you. Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Hope & Healing, Real Life Stories, Sisterhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

Who is Jesus?

Around the world, people today are laying down their lives to talk about Jesus. Who is He? Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Hope & Healing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

Love Notes from God

Until recently, I never realized how many love notes God sends us every day. He speaks. We have to be ready to look and listen. Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Hope & Healing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

Wallenda’s Praise & Prayer at 1500'

Nik Wallenda crossed the Grand Canyon on a tightrope. No net, no harness. Wallenda’s peace and courage came from Jesus. Ours does too. Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Hope & Healing, Real Life Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

Not Everything Happens for a Reason

“Everything happens for a reason” suggests there can be a good twist. Even terror, murder & abuse? No! Not everything is good or from God. Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Hope & Healing, Real Life Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

When Plans and Dreams are Shattered

When our lives come to a screeching halt because of bad surprises, how can we hold onto faith? We can’t just pretend everything is fine. Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Hope & Healing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

Want to be Happy? Practice “Happy”!

Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” So do this: Practice being happy this holiday season – and it will carry on to next year! Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Hope & Healing, Real Life Stories, Sisterhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

Past Scars: Stepping Stones to Purpose

We can find purpose if we realize our past struggles allow us to help others who are struggling. No shame and no fear of our past in Christ! Continue reading

Growth, Hope & Healing, Real Life Stories, Sisterhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

What Happens To Us When We Die?

Many of us aren’t sure what’s next when we die, so we don’t think about it. But in a crazy world like ours, people are starting to wonder. Continue reading

Growth, Hope & Healing, Real Life Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

What Are You Doing With Your Dash?

When we die there will be 2 numbers: the date we were born & the date we died. Neither matters as much as the dash––our life––in between. Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Hope & Healing, Real Life Stories, Sisterhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

Your Life Story in 6 Words

Ernest Hemingway’s shortest story- “For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.” Wow! In 6 words can you spark hope? Yes! Tell us your 6 word story! Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Hope & Healing, Real Life Stories, Sisterhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

Sweet Friendship Refreshes the Soul

Sweet friendship refreshes our soul, like beautiful aromas that engage our emotions and warm our heart with good memories. Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Hope & Healing, Sisterhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment

On the Road to New Beginnings

No matter where we’ve been, no matter where we are, we all can experience the joy and richness of new life! I’m living proof. Continue reading

Fun, Growth, Hope & Healing, Real Life Stories, Sisterhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment