Unanswered Prayers: Keeping Your Faith when God Says “No”

[Warning: if you couldn’t tell from the title this post contains references to PRAYER and GOD. If that’s not your cup of Earl Grey, tune back in some other time and we’ll get back to writing-type stuff.]

When I married my wife we lived in this tiny one bedroom apartment where the walls were so thin we could hear the neighbors screaming at each other next door, and the plumbing backed up at least once a week. I won’t complain about it too much. As far as places to live goes, it was light years better than what most of the world has to put up with.

But it wasn’t where we wanted to be. So after we got more financially stable we started looking for a house. It wasn’t easy. We were fairly poor, and we didn’t have a lot of extra money to begin with but we found a fantastic real estate agent who was willing to work to help us find something in our price range.

Several months after the hunt began, our real estate agent came to us with a proposal. She told us about a program that was available to help first time home buyers like us get into a brand new house at an affordable price. We were elated about the opportunity and for the next few months we went through the process of signing various bits of paperwork and picking out the colours of the cabinets and carpet. We drove by that house almost every week as it was being built, watching the progress with eager anticipation.

But then it didn’t happen. The builder upped the price and suddenly the house we had invested so much time and anticipation in was snatched out of our reach.

We went on the hunt again, and this time we found an older house that was well within our price range. Again we started the wheels turning on the process to buy the house.

But we hit another snag. The house had a small amount of termite damage which excluded it from being eligible for the type of loan we were able to afford.

We were devastated and started to get a little discouraged. We had been praying hard all through this process that God would help us find a house to call our own, and it felt like time and time again he was slamming the door in our faces. We didn’t understand what we were doing wrong, or why He kept telling us “no” time after time.

But then the day came when our agent called and said, “I’ve got a house you need to see. I think this might be the one.”

And, to make a long story short, it was. In fact it is the house where I am sitting at this very moment and writing this blog post. It was perfect for use in every way.

Now, looking back at those other houses we wanted to buy I can see why God said no. It wasn’t because He was a big meany who didn’t want us to have anything. It was because those places wouldn’t have been right for us. The first house would have cost us so much money we would have been tied up in financial knots trying to keep up the with mortgage, and the second one was so old it would have been a nightmare to maintain.

But the one we ended up with? It’s perfect for us in so many ways. We just couldn’t see it from where we were then.

Today, me and my wife are facing a different kind of difficulty. We’re trying to have a child. We’ve been praying and praying and everything seems like its going against us. Last summer we conceived for the first time, but my wife miscarried shortly into the pregnancy. And just this past week my she went to the doctor and learned that a condition related to her diabetes may make it extremely difficult for her to conceive again.

It would be easy enough to get angry with God about all of this. After all, He could fix it with a snap of his almighty fingers and give us the baby we’ve been asking for. But He hasn’t.

Sometimes I look at people who look like terrible parents, and I want to ask God, “Why have you given them children and kept us from having any?” But I’ve been through this kind of thing before. I know that when God says “No” sometimes it means he has something even better in store down the road.

So now I’m trying be what I ought to be where I am and with what I’ve got. I still don’t understand everything God is doing in my life, but I believe he has a plan that’s better than anything I could ever dream of, and that is what faith is all about.

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13 responses to “Unanswered Prayers: Keeping Your Faith when God Says “No”

  1. Thanks for sharing this! So very true! Everything in HIS timing!

    • Thank you so much for your testimony, it has encouraged me. I too am looking for a house and I am getting desperate now as I have a 5month old baby. I am trusting that The Lord will provide us with a home that is perfect for my child and I.

      Dear Lord, I am stepping out in faith and I Thank you for my perfect house. I know I have not received it yet but I am claiming it in Jesus name.
      Thank you Lord

  2. My family and I have been through trials where we wonder why God is making us wait. In hindsight it almost always makes sense. The hardest part is to have faith and patience, which in all reality, comes from God.

    I wish you and your wife the best of luck, faith, patience, and hope. When God says it’s time, it will happen.

    It’s the the waiting that’s hard. And the unknown.

  3. Yes! I believe. Many times, when we force our way in the situation and not let God (I’m using this as a collective term for the higher power) in charge, it’s when our lives get screwed up. Learned that the hard way. I remember praying to God to do his will and in less than a day (more like 12 hours), he answered my prayers. Basically, he stopped something I’m forcing to happen for years. From then on, I just said to myself to wait and trust God’s timing.

    I’m sorry about the miscarriage but good luck to you and your wife. I hope to hear about some baby news soon. 🙂

  4. Albert, thank you for taking the courage to share something so personal about your life. I think by putting this out into the world, you are giving yourself time and space to allow for support and answers to come. I will keep you and your family (to be) in my prayers.

  5. Author Kristen Lamb

    I love this post. I look back at all the things I wanted so badly, and I couldn’t understand why God wouldn’t just cut me a break. Of course, now I can see how He was taking VERY good care of me.

    Back in 2001 I became suddenly ill. One bout of pneumonia after another. Sick all the time. Then misdiagnosed with epilepsy. It destroyed my sales career. I remember how depressed I was in that (with an epilepsy diagnosis) I couldn’t even get a job at Sonic or a grocery store. I was too educated (had a degree in International Relations from TCU). But, when I tried to get a corporate job, they wouldn’t take on someone with a history of seizures.

    Eventually I got so ill, I couldn’t leave home. I was alone and began to write. I thought God had abandoned me because I was so ill, and the career I’d worked so hard to build was toast (even though I hated sales). Where was God and why would he wreck my life?

    But without that dark, horrible season, I would have never become a writer….and thus would never have helped any of you guys or even known you and gotten the joy of being your friend. I would have continued working in sales because it was a socially acceptable job that pleased my family. It didn’t matter that I threw up every day on the way to work because of the stress.

    God took away the life i thought I wanted, and gave me the life I never thought possible.

    I loved you post, and I just want you to know that He is working behind the scenes. You don’t see the fruit now, but he is opening doors and closing bad doors. Relax. And, as far as your wife’s diabetes, 1) doctors aren’t God. These are the same people who diagnosed me with uncontrollable epilepsy. It turned out to be a severe food allergy…which I diagnosed myself after I threw the medicine down the toilet. So, they aren’t all-knowing. 2) nothing is impossible for God. You may not end up with a baby in the way you envision, but it still can happen.

    Pray and be steadfast. Technology is advancing at amazing speed and women are having babies far later and in high-tech ways. And I know you guys have heard all of this, but it is still great to have a reminder.

    I will keep you guys in my prayers, and, in the meantime, work on being that best-selling author ;).

    Lots of love,

    Kristen

  6. Thanks so much to all of you for your encouraging comments. I know I’m not the only person out there who’s experienced setbacks like this, and I hope maybe I’m able to offer some encouragement to others as well.

  7. Pingback: Unanswered Prayers: Keeping Your Faith when God Says “No” (via Albert Berg’s Unsanity Files) « Marilag Lubag's Blog

  8. Thank you for the encouragement. I’m waiting for some things in my life right now and have been for several months. I hope you and your wife are able to have or adopt a child someday and that God continues to give you peace.

  9. My friend Tillie prayed for a ticket on the Titanic, yes, that Titanic. Here’s her story . . . which 60 years later interwove with mine:
    http://benjaminunseth.wordpress.com/2011/04/15/titanic-sized-unanswered-prayer/

  10. Thank you for the posts. I’ve been trying to sell my business for over a year. I pray everyday to give the store to the Lord and beg him to take it from me. But off I go, to tend to the store. God is just saying no for now, I pray His will be shown to me, so I can do what ever it is He is asking. And I want to do it with faith. That’s what led me to your website. Thank you.

  11. My Prayers seem to b unanswered n I really don’t wanna give up right now. I’m trying to ostracise myself from all of the negativity and doubting. Please give me all advice u can. Thanks n may god bless u

  12. Romans 4:17
    Speak life into your situation and claim it JESUS name, and continue to,be obedient! The Israelites took 40 years to get to the promise land when it should have took 40 days due to lack,of faith as they complained to Moses, plus due to,their disobedience.
    Hold on and stand on the promises of God.

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