During a marriage conference my husband and I attended, the speaker, Jimmy Evans, stated that the number one cause for divorce was not conflict about money or in-laws but disappointment.  In other words, this marriage did not turn out how we had hoped and expected. 

Disappointment leads to distance, not only in marriage but in our relationship with God. Because God promises never, ever to leave or forsake us, the feeling of separation results from how we perceive God, not that He has distanced himself from us.  

One source of our disappointment with God may be an unanswered prayer. When we ask the omnipotent, sovereign king of the universe for something we desperately think we need (either for ourselves or for someone we love), and He does not grant our request, we experience disappointment.  

How did others in the Bible handle God not granting their requests?  In Luke 22:41-44, God did not remove the cup of suffering from Jesus but sent an angel to strengthen Him for accomplishing God’s purpose on the cross. When He knew that he would have to experience the angst of the cross, Jesus told his Father, “Not as I will, but as you will.”  

Paul urgently prayed that the thorn would be removed from his flesh, but God denied him, telling Paul that the thorn would develop the quality of humility and cause Paul to lean upon God instead of himself.  Paul concluded, “His grace is sufficient.”  

Finally, consider John the Baptist. He was the voice crying in the wilderness with the good news Messiah had come.  A few years later, John was in prison awaiting execution on the whim of a crazy king.  He had heard about miracles that Jesus was doing for others – the blind received sight, the lame walked, yet John was beheaded. Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:6 to John were, “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.” John could look around and see the Lord was at work even if His power was not manifested by releasing John from prison. Earlier in his ministry, John stated, “He (Jesus) must become greater; and I must become less.” 

If your prayer is answered, who will get more glory, you or Jesus? Hebrews 5:8 tells us, “Jesus learned obedience from what He suffered.” His response to the Father was always reverent submission, and I pray for mine to be as well. 

Lord, forgive me for my prideful expectation that you will do this my way and for taking offence when your answer is not want I wanted.

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