Sometimes there is a temptation to think that, if we just respond in obedience or get involved in doing something globally great for him, God will always open the storehouses of heaven and an abundance of “yes” answers will pour forth. As much as we might like that to be true, it normally isn’t. As hard as we try to figure out the whys to God’s answers to prayer, whether yes or no, the reasoning and explanations are elusive at best.
Cross-cultural workers scratch their heads too. Here are some of our head-waggers…
1) Joe and Jane Smith are the perfect candidates. They tick every box when it comes to being perfect for cross-cultural involvement. But as they pray, expect, and seek God for funding, it doesn’t come.
2) Mary has been working among an unreached people group for a decade. She diligently grows relationships, and she and her ministry partners bathe them in prayer. To her knowledge, no one has yet taken steps toward the kingdom.
3) The team in Romania hears of a great need and opportunity for ministry in neighboring Moldova. They begin to seek God’s face for the provision of people and funds to meet that critical need. No such provision of people or funds happens, and the opportune door closes.
The truth is that God the father even told Jesus, the son, “no” at one crucial point, and we should all be extremely thankful for that answer. You know the story: Jesus is in the garden praying and agonizing to the point of sweat “like drops of blood.” He asks his father to find another way, because as Mark records, “anything is possible for you.” (Mk 14:36) Jesus then resigns himself to his father’s will, and we are co-heirs with him as a result.
As difficult as it is to wrap our brains around, here is the challenge:
“Ask whatever you will, in my name, and it will be done for you” and “not my will but yours be done” have to fit in the same space in reality. In obedience, we continue to pray, trusting that God will follow through with the best answer, though our honest definition of “best” will no doubt differ from his definition.
Take a couple minutes to listen to and pray this song along with Lauren Daigle.
Global kingdom growth is God’s aim and, ultimately, he is responsible for how it plays out. Our obedience allows us to be involved for his glory and pleasure… and our joy.