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"Unanswered" Prayers

Who would thank God for unanswered prayers?


That line always got me.

Why would you do that?


"… Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers; remember when you're talkin' to the man upstair; that just because He doesn't answer doesn't mean He don't care; some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers."


Why would someone thank God

for losing someone close to them?


For losing a baby?

For an uncertain medical diagnosis?

For being rejected for a dream career?

For breaking your heart into a million pieces?


This is still such a hard thing for me.


Thanking Him despite...

...despite not getting what I so very much longed for...

...despite not having a deep dream come true...

...despite loss, heartbreak, hardship and tragedy...

...despite letting my heart shatter to almost disrepair...


But then, God.


Because, our Father?


Our Father is not a Father Who closes His ears, His heart, His healing hands or His warm embrace.

Our Father is a Father Who cries right beside us.

Our Father is a Father Who dreams our same dreams.

Our Father is a Father Who longs to overflow our weary hearts.


But, until we learn to cling steadfast to one simple promise, we will never understand how to thank Him for those prayers that are left hanging, a shadow long-gone...a broken dream.


" 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' " {Jeremiah 29:11}


It's the second part of that verse

that took me the longest to learn.

To really, truly memorize.

To cling to.

And above all, to trust.


"...plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."


Plans.


That's just the thing.


Our plans are usually not the same as God's.

Our plans are so incredibly limited by

our human hearts and minds.


But God's?


That's where limitlessness comes into play...

...water-walking...

...way-making...

...miracle-working...

...impossibly-possible plans.


Plans to prosper.

Plans to give us hope.

Plans to give us a future.

A beautiful, one-of-a-kind, without-limit future.


Never would I have thanked God at 25-years-old for not providing me with a new teaching job upon quitting after three years, to look for something closer to home...until I walked into a classroom of 30 third-graders whose tear-filled eyes met mine with a bittersweet combination of both fear and hope, the Monday morning after their beautiful teacher tragically passed away.


Never would I have thanked God at 28-years-old for waiting 22 months for a baby...until I was able to place her into my own mother's arms...the same mother who lost her son as a baby, and who was then able to hold her very first grandchild; born the very day before her angel-baby's birthday.


The very day before her own son's birthday.


Only God can do that.


Who would thank God for unanswered prayers?

And why would you ever want to do that?


Because, maybe...just maybe...the great exchange...

...our faith and trust, for His goodness...

...is worth the wait.


And maybe, just maybe, sometimes,

"God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers."


For perhaps, they aren't unanswered--

but perhaps, instead--they are simply

our Father's answered prayers for each one of us.


His...

...glorious...

...unimaginable...

...handcrafted...

...extraordinary...

...prayerfully laid-out, plans.



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