"Unanswered" Prayer and the Glory of God

As we are facing a year that may be a difficult one, I’ve been remembering another one a few years ago. Recalling the Lord’s faithfulness to us then is giving me courage for the future.

During the year of 2005 I prayed fervently and daily about two issues. On my walks and bike rides, at home, throughout the day, I would lift up these two concerns to the Lord. One was Tim’s business, which that year for some reason was extraordinarily slow. The other was a relationship matter involving one of our children. Yes, I was praying for God’s will, not mine, but I sure had some opinions about how I thought He ought to work in these situations!

New Year’s Day, 2006, arrived, and neither situation had worked out like I’d hoped. The business was still very slow, and we were in the dead season. We had built a spec house and it was sitting on the market, tying up a large part of our savings. The relationship had fallen apart with no hopes of rekindling.

It was a warmish day so I hopped on my bike for a long ride. As I rode, I prayed. (The great thing about living in a rural place is that you can even sing and pray out loud while you bike, if you like.) I’m not usually given to asking that whiney question, “Why?” but that day I did. I just didn’t understand. With the relationship it was easier to believe that God had better plans for each of the people. But the business? What purpose could He possibly have in that?

As I cried out to the Lord, I sensed an unexpected answer. “It’s not about your glory, but about Mine.” It was one of those light bulb turning on moments for me. Yes! I was all focused on my own glory, having things work out for my pleasure and comfort. God was, and always is, interested in His glory, and that is what I need to seek constantly as well.

I wish I could tell you that circumstances changed immediately once my perspective shifted, but they didn’t. But over time God worked in amazing ways in both situations! The first, Tim’s business, boomed throughout that next year. The spec house sold early in the year and other good work came regularly. By the end of 2006 we had more than made up for the previous bad year. It was such a dramatic difference from the year before that we knew it was totally the work of the Lord.

And the relationship? Well, the one I had been praying about did not ever resume, thankfully, because our Heavenly Father had a perfect plan to bring together another man for my daughter, Kara. That man of course, is Collin, now Kara’s husband. And the story of how they met and began to fall in love in our living room is a beautiful story that brings glory to God.

Ephesians 3:20, 21 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.


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