Answers to prayer come in all different shapes and sizes – and times. God has definitely answered my prayers in ways I didn’t expect. Some answers I would quickly and easily describe as blessings, some answers I would say were blessings disguised as trials. Sometimes, I would tell you God didn’t answer my prayer at all, but that may or may not be true. It may just be that I didn’t get to witness the answer.
God has answered my prayer by blessing me with wisdom and imagination when I’m smack in the middle of a seemingly unsolvable problem. But He’s also taken a job away from me that, in retrospect, I can see was time to leave and never would have let go of on my own. He allowed me to struggle through a 7 year relationship plagued with distrust and heartache, but in retrospect, I can see that my distrust of that person kept me from sleeping with them and saved me for someone who still tells me he’s crazy about me after 22 years. Years ago, while my husband and I were house shopping, we were confused and disappointed when the two houses we put offers on didn’t progress to a sale. Today, we count it a huge blessing that we didn’t entangle ourselves in additional debt at that time in our lives. One of my son’s friends has an amazing ability to dribble and shoot a basketball equally as well using his right hand or his left. By watching him, you’d never know that he broke his right arm when he was younger and spent months learning to play basketball with his left hand because his right arm was unavailable. When he broke his arm, I’m sure he and his family thought it was a bad thing, and in the immediate, it was. But in the long term, it provided a unique advantage. My sister teaches adjunct at a local community college and she was hurt and confused and worried when, out of the blue, she didn’t get a teaching contract one semester. Then over the next few months, she found herself home multiple times with very sick children on the very days she would have been teaching had she gotten the contract.
The stories are endless. Think back over your own life. What was something you prayed about that you believed at the time turned out very badly but now, in retrospect, you see was the best thing that could have happened? Can you see situations where God saved you from a negative consequence or used the bad situation as a foundation for something amazing in your life? Something God worked not only for your good, but for His greater glory?
I know it sounds cliche, but it’s true: God works in mysterious ways.