Saturday, March 9, 2019

Hidden in the "No"~

I will never forget the conversation
I had with an elderly lady
several years ago.

We were seated next to one another
at a conference on prayer.

After the last session,
as everyone was packing up their Bibles
and leaving the room,
she leaned over and asked,
"Do you believe in prayer?"

"Yes. I do," I replied.

"I don't," she stated matter-of-factly.

Her answer caught me off guard -
so off guard, in fact,
that before my mind
had time to pray about a response,
my mouth blurted out,
"You don't? Why not?"

As we sat back down,
she told me her story.

The love of her life,
her husband of 30+ years,
had found another love.

He made no excuses,
just an honest,
"I don't love you anymore"
followed by divorce papers
and an empty side of the closet
where his clothes once hung.

For years,
(40+ years I discovered),
she had prayed night and day
for God to bring her husband
back home.

"It wasn't that we was wonderful
at being a husband,
because he certainly was not.
But, he was mine.
You understand, don't you, dear?

He was mean, uncaring, and selfish -
but he was mine.

All these years,
I have prayed.
And, all these years,
my prayers have gone
unheard by God
and unanswered.

I used to believe in prayer,
but not any more.
Not now.
It's obvious God 
doesn't care about me."

"From what you've told me,
this man caused you
heartache and grief
even before he left you.
Why would you want him
back in your life?

I'm sure the way he treated you
must have hurt God's heart.

Have you ever stopped to think
that God loves you SO MUCH
He chose not to subject you
to that abuse any longer?

Maybe what you think
is God saying 'no'
is actually God saying
'I want so much better for you'."

Her eyes filled with tears
and for a moment,
she turned away from me.

she reached out,
took hold of my arm
and began sobbing uncontrollably.

"I never thought of it like that.
Why haven't I
ever thought of it like that?

All these years
I've been so angry at God
for not listening,
for not answering,
for not caring.

Maybe God was hearing me,
after all.

Maybe, just maybe,
He was watching out for me,
in spite of me.
Thank you."

And with that,
she stood up
and darted out of the room.

40+ years this woman
had allowed a broken relationship
to hold her prisoner.

40+ years this woman
had allowed bitterness and anger
to rob her
of her relationship with God.

I'll never forget our conversation.
I'll never forget her tears.
I'll never forget the look in her eyes
when she saw God's heart
in a new light -
the light of His love for her,
in spite of her anger,
in spite of her bitterness,
in spite of her pleas.

Our God loves us
like no one ever has
or ever will.

When we don't understand His ways,
when we don't get our way,
when we pray and pray and pray
and feel as though God doesn't care,

All the time,
more than we can ever know
or even imagine,
He does.

Disguised in what
appears to be silence
is a love that we can't even
begin to comprehend.

Hidden in the "no" is often
a merciful, tender,
"I want so much better for you".

Does God hear our prayers?
Every single one.

Does God answer our prayers?
Every single time.

Do I believe in prayer?
Yes, I do.


(Sharing again one of the most liked Heartprints of God posts - this one from April, 2013)

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