Why Aren’t My Prayers Answered?
By Janet Stobie
It’s nerve-wracking to live in limbo, waiting on the decisions of other people. When our children were eight, eleven and twelve, we chose to return to university, my husband to study for ministry, and I to complete a Master’s degree in Education. We’d prayed about it and felt confident this was God’s will.
We had a plan. We’d sell our home to finance the first year. After that, well, we’d figure it out. Every morning, I cleaned the house for a “showing.” Every night I prayed for a buyer. September came, school was starting and still the house hadn’t sold. I remember yelling at God, “You said, ‘Sell all that you have and follow me’, but you didn’t say what to do when the house doesn’t sell.’”
We moved anyway. We waited on the action of God’s Spirit, and for four months, through bursaries and the generosity of others, we paid the mortgage in Fenelon, the rent in Kingston, and even ate. That experience changed my life. I developed a trust in God that has enabled me to answer God’s call to ministry, heal from a messy divorce, live through the death of both of my mothers, adoptive and biological, and risk a second try at marriage. I know I can commit my life to God’s will. God does carry us in very tangible and practical ways.
Waiting on God’s Spirit is tough. We pray, we research, we seek advice. We think we are following God’s lead. Then the obstacles appear. The road appears impassable. And still we wait.
My life experience has taught me that it is in these times that we need to pray for patience and guidance. We need to open our minds and hearts to what we can learn from this experience. When our prayers feel totally unanswered, it is time to wait and trust. When Jesus was leaving his followers for the last time, he told them, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.” (Acts 1:4 ) We too are called to wait on the Spirit. Wait and trust. Wait for God’s answer to your prayers.