When God Doesn’t Answer Your Prayers

The Function of Miracles—Part 9

“Once when I was ministering in Southern California,” writes Bill Johnson in The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, “a mother brought me a child who was tormented by devils. The child scratched and clawed at me while I prayed and bound and did what I knew to do—and yet my prayers had no apparent effect. The mother looked at me and said words I will never forget: ‘Isn’t there anyone here who can help me?’ Why did that mother bring that child to me? Because I represented someone—Jesus—who is absolutely perfect, knows no lack of power, and is absolutely willing to bring deliverance.” [1286]

Johnson asks whether we should conclude that it was God’s will for the child to be tormented. No, he says, though that is the theology “many people embrace during times of uncertainty.”

He concluded that he needed to spend more time in prayer and fasting, so that he had a reserve of deep intimacy with God. “My inability to bring the needed deliverance to the child has driven me to the throne. I must have more!!” Then he would be able, like Jesus, to see heaven “erupt into the natural world at a moment’s notice.”

“We may find ourselves facing problems and not knowing where the tools are to bring about the solution. But that doesn’t mean the problem is insurmountable. There is power in resolving in your heart that God is good all of the time, and that His will for healing and wholeness does not change, despite what we see in the natural.” [1293]

Without bitterness, without resignation, we are to keep on trying. We may not understand why our prayers are ineffectual, but we should never draw the conclusion that the problem is meant to be permanent, or that God isn’t interested in healing.

I think that’s true. The Father of Jesus Christ will bring about healing, not just for each one who seeks it in the name of Jesus, but for the whole universe. At the same time, I want to hold on to the words of Peter: “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ….” (1 Peter 4:12-13)

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8,9)

We should never lose sight of the Kingdom, and always pray for God to do “on earth as it is in heaven.” But we should also be patient, and remember that God can do a great deal of good for us as he guides us through the painful (and slow, by our accounting) renewal of his creation. Johnson’s emphasis on trying harder may suggest that any failings are our responsibility. Really, though, God is in control. He has his own sense of timing. And his renewal of creation is not wrapped up in healing diseases. That may, in fact, be at the bottom of his to-do list. In my reading of the New Testament, he seems more concerned about character and love, which can and do grow in times of perplexity and strain.

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One Response to “When God Doesn’t Answer Your Prayers”

  1. Bill Reichert Says:

    “And his renewal of creation is not wrapped up in healing diseases. That may, in fact, be at the bottom of his to-do list. In my reading of the New Testament, he seems more concerned about character and love, which can and do grow in times of perplexity and strain. ”

    Well said, Tim. I think God is quite concerned with the healing of one disease, namely, sin. His works of earthly healing operate primarily to vindicate His claim that ALL disease is under His control. Sometimes, though, we wish to invert His priorities so that He will heal our bodies, only getting around to our sin if He has the time.

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