Wow! What Happened?
by Ron Hughes
For those of us who resolutely subscribe to the “we pray to align ourselves with God’s agenda, not to get Him to do our will” philosophy, answered prayer can come as a bit of a shock. There we are, earnestly seeking the Lord and trying our best not to tell Him what to do when, all of a sudden, the outcome we were inwardly hoping for becomes reality.
I have come to understand these situations as evidence of the Lord drawing close to us as we seek Him.
As we know Him better, our will is more perfectly lined up with His so that the outcome He ordains is the very one we have come to desire.
Example: A man whose son was not walking with the Lord prayed frequently and longed for an opportunity to talk to him. Entirely unexpectedly, the Lord arranged for them to be alone together for 2 hours and got things started by prompting the son to raise the very spiritual issues the father wanted to address with him.
But there’s more.
Let us never forget that God delights in blessing His children beyond the limits of their imaginations.
I suspect that sometimes we think God has not answered our prayer because He gives us something so far beyond what we expected that we fail to make the connection.
Example: a friend went to emergency over the Christmas break with a severe lung infection. The attending physician ordered tests and x-rays which revealed a chronic condition with which the woman had been living as a symptom of advancing age. The doctor was able to treat both the acute and the chronic problems and now my friend is rejoicing in the goodness of God experienced in a way she hadn’t even considered.
Sometimes God wants to use our circumstances to shape us into the very image of Jesus — something that most of us can’t see very well in ourselves at all.
Example: An elderly widower who has lost much of his vision, hearing, mobility, and independence, had a health crisis. When he was discharged from the hospital and well enough to get back to his beloved church family, he was overwhelmed as one after another confided in him how much they had benefited from his spiritual interest and care for them over the years.
The examples mentioned here all took place in the lives of believers I know personally in the last six weeks. God’s promise to respond to us when we delight ourselves in him and leave the outcomes Him is still good.
Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4 NKJV).
Ron is president of FBH International , a multi-language media ministry and maintains an active itinerant speaking ministry in churches and conferences. Ron is a professional member of The Word Guild and has one published book, “Refresh: 19 ways to boost your spiritual life”, and is working on several other writing projects. Much of his writing is published on the ministry website and has been used in radio broadcasts.
Ron has been married to Debbie since 1976. They have four children, one of whom is married. They live on a 100 acre farm in the Niagara region which they share with a few horses, chickens, cats and a dog.