There are certain things that I’ve been praying and asking God for for decades that haven’t yet happened. And yet I’ve never once come to the place where I would say, “God has let me down.” Why? Because I’ve learned what faith is and how it works. In my new video I share the key to overcoming disappointment with God and pass along some the most important truths I’ve learned about faith and wrestling prayer. If you’ve struggled with discouragement over seemingly unanswered prayer in your life, this will be an encouragement to you.
There are certain things that I’ve been praying and asking God for for decades that haven’t yet happened. And yet I’ve never once come to the place where I would say, “God has let me down.” Because I know something. And that is that God will allow certain things to take time and His request of me is to hold on. That’s what faith is. Faith is a form of wrestling. It’s a form of perseverance. And so when you have a limit to how long, or some expiration date to how long you will give God, it inevitably will lead to disappointment because you will find that God has to bring you to the end of that to see where you stand.
In other words, for me, I don’t have an expiration date, and that’s a deliberate choice because when I first started out my Christianity, I was really struggling with the fact that I read the Bible and it seems like Paul prays and it just happens. You feel like saying, “How come it seems like there’s more power back then and I don’t have it here today?” That’s an immature approach to the ideas of faith and the ideas of God. God promised and He’s faithful. The idea of faithfulness means … He’s faithful. That means He will in fact do it.
So when you stand on the Word of God, if you’re standing for your own thing, like, “God, I want a Ferrari. God, I want a Ferrari. God, I want a Ferrari.” Well, you’re going to be disappointed, but for a different reason. If you look at the Scriptures, they’re going to say you’re asking “amiss,” and therefore you can’t expect to receive because God is going to honor His Word. He’s not going to honor your flesh. He’s not going to honor your selfish cravings. Otherwise He’d be a terrible father.
Could you imagine if my kids came to me and said, “I want an ice cream cone. I want an ice cream cone. I want an ice cream cone. Now that I mention it, I want 10 ice cream cones.” And they think that just because Daddy’s a “good Daddy,” that I would just give them everything they crave and whatever they ask for. I want my kids to delight in life. I want them to smile, but there’s certain times when I know (especially if they’re hyperactive kids) that if I give them that ice cream cone at 10:00 PM at night, they’re not going to sleep. And so, because I love them, I’m going to say no to that.
However, for the most part, many of us have approached God with faith, but our faith had a weak root system and it had an expiration date associated with it. It’s sort of like saying, “I’ll give three prayers, and if by the end of the third prayer, God hasn’t come through, then God has disappointed me.” Well, I’m going to tell you that that mentality will disappoint you because God will have to bring you to the end of your three prayers to say, “How you doing? Do you still trust Me?” And the question is, do you trust Him? Do you trust that His Word is true? Do you trust Him that no matter what is going on in your life, He is faithful?
And so think about this: there’s a prayer in the book of Revelation that has been prayed for 2,000 years. It says, “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come. Come Lord Jesus, come.'” So it’s not just the bride, the Church that’s been praying Maranatha for 2,000 years, the Holy Spirit has been praying, “Come Lord Jesus, come.”
The Holy Spirit could be a little disappointed in God. Don’t you think? And of course, if you have good theology, you say, “I thought the Holy Spirit was God?” You’re right. In other words, even God has participated in this prayer and guess what? It will happen. Jesus will come. Should we get disappointed in the fact that He hasn’t come yet? His timing is perfect. Everything He does is perfect. It says His ways are perfect.
So our job is to believe that. Our job is to believe that when He gives us a burden and He sets us out to pursue it, even though it doesn’t happen immediately, it will happen in due time. He gives a promise to Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. These are His friends. Every other person that ever came to Jesus that was sick was healed, except for one — His good friend Lazarus. Instead He gives Lazarus a promise and He gives it to Mary and Martha, too. “This sickness will not end in death.” And then He leaves town and Lazarus gets sicker and sicker and sicker and then dies.
The Word of God — which is what Jesus gave — said this sickness will not end in death, but it sure does appear to be death. This is where faith comes in. Did Jesus speak or not? You see, our job is to hold on to the Word of God. And even though it looks like Lazarus is … he’s not around, okay? He’s been wrapped in grave cloths, he’s been stuck in a tomb, and a stone has been rolled in front, and four days have passed. God’s Word is still God’s Word. Jesus shows up in His perfect timing, “Roll away the stone. Lazarus, come forth.”
Our job is to be believers, not doubters, not “disappointed” people — believers. And when you understand that in your Christian life, there’s no disappointment. There are rough patches. There are challenges. There are tests of faith. There are trials by fire. But there’s joy in the midst of all of that, knowing that our God will in fact come through always.
If you’d like to take these truths deeper, join us here at Ellerslie for one of our upcoming discipleship programs.
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