Isaiah 65:24 Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.
As Philip Yancey says, the question that never goes away.
Does God answer prayer? The answer is yes. The answer is no.
I have searched long and hard for the past 20 years to finally find out that, yes, God answers prayer. And I have found out that, no, God doesn’t answer prayer.
When I ask for my friend to find her necklace that is meaningful to her, and in a minute or few she finds it in the tall grass, God has shown my little granddaughter that He cares about even the smallest things that cause us anxiety. Thus, when she can’t find something, she comes in my office and asks me to pray that she finds a picture she was looking for, like I did when I prayed for Teri’s necklace. God led us to the picture right away.
When I ask for healing for my children who have serious mental health issues, He is silent, letting us forge ahead through the thick jungle of confusion, sadness, depression, hopelessness, pain, searching, hospitalizations, imprisonment, and heartache. And heartache. And heartache.
How are we standing? Bloody and battered from the wildness of this uncharted territory we have never walked before. Is it His strength? Is that the answer? Not this but this? “Lean into me, and I will bring you to the other side albeit not the person you started out being but now someone that resembles that person. You carry them as I carry you.”
Did that answer my prayer for healing? No. Are they healed when we all come out on the other side bruised, panting from the struggle? No.
When I pray, I know that God hears. 1 John 5:14 ~ This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
When I pray, I know that something in the heavens shifts and moves, and shifts and moves me, in some way, now or much much much later. I have not suffered and been in great distress alone. Others have suffered far worse than I have. Even the Lord Jesus prayed fervently for a change in circumstances. Prayed so fervently, in fact, that his sweat was blood. Jesus Christ experienced hematohidrosis while praying in the garden of Gethsemane before his crucification as mentioned in the Defenders Bible by Physician Luke as “and being in anguish he prayed more earnestly and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. ”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2810702/
Matthew 26:38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Matthew 26:42 “He (Jesus) went away a second time and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.’”
Matthew 26:44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
“Why?” Is there ever an answer? Yes, sometimes. All we have to do on occasion is see how we have caused our problems through bad habits, bad choices. Or we can see how our genes or work environment has caused our problems. But when the Why answer is elusive and a great mystery, and the healing or the saving wasn’t quick enough to heal or save or the evil that was perpetrated against us or those we loved destroyed, then we stand, as Jesus did, overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.
And we need someone to stand with us in the Why. We need someone to stay and keep watch, to pray with us and stand firm by our side, not judging and rationalizing, not looking for the human weakness but calling for the supernatural strength that sustains and passes understanding.
Perhaps the answer is Love. Do we love enough to stand with each other in the Why moments?