Psalms 18:30: “As for God, His way is perfect. The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.”
God always answers prayers. Always. If you ask, He will answer. The answer just might not always be yes.
In our house, we have taught our children that God answers in three different ways: Yes, No, and Maybe. You may be wondering how that is any different than not receiving an answer at all. And how do I know that it is really God who is answering and not just luck or chance?
I know because of how personal my God is. My yes, no, or maybe is not necessarily going to look like someone else’s answer.
When God answers yes, he personalizes it. One example was when I was looking for a job many years ago, before I got married. There were two specific jobs I applied for: One that fit more of my gifts and one that paid significantly higher. I chose the job that was more in line with my purpose and God certainly blessed me. I made many Christian friends that I still share a relationship with today, met wonderful families that continue to bless me, and learned so many valuable lessons that I would not change for anything. Not to mention that we never went hungry because I did not accept the job with the higher paycheck. That is just one way that God personalizes things.
He also says no when our request might not be the best answer for our lives, or when we need to learn a lesson. Some examples might include wanting to marry a specific person but they are not feeling the same way, a happier childhood for our children, or having more money to make life easier than living paycheck to paycheck. None of those requests are bad; however, sometimes God uses a “no” response to help us grow, to teach us things that we otherwise would not learn. Being told no can be hard at the time, but when given enough time to look back, I think we would all see that we have learned sometime from the “no’s” in our life. Maybe God had a different, better-suited person in mind for us to marry, maybe our children needed to learn lessons in childhood to prepare them for their purpose in life, and maybe we needed to learn to rely on God for our provisions instead of depending upon ourselves.
Lastly, sometimes God answers with “maybe.” Again, this is a very personal answer. A couple desperately wants to be parents but it is not working out the old fashioned way, you want your loved one healed from their debilitating disease because you hate to see them suffer, or you really want a job that you are passionate about, knowing that you are presently surviving, not thriving. God could be using the maybe for your benefit or that of someone else. Maybe the child He has handpicked for your family to raise has not been born yet, maybe your loved one is learning so much from his suffering that he will in turn be able to help others, or maybe you are still being trained for the passionate job that will turn into your true calling.
The best part is we can always trust God that He knows what choice is best. No matter what answer you get to the requests you make, I challenge you to find the “personalization” in each of them, because if you look hard enough, you will see it. I know that I do.