I watched a debate one evening on television between a leading Christian minister and an atheist. The atheist was asked what event in the life caused him to no longer believe in God. He said he was raised in a church and his parents were strong Christians. The dramatic change occurred when his father was dying. He prayed to God for his father to live, but he died. From that time on he no longer believed in God. He said that most of the leading atheists came from the same kind of background. When trusting a supposed loving God ended in disappointment, they turned against God and no longer believed in His existence. They became strong voices in the scientific world for people to turn from the myth of God and follow rational empiricism.
This sounds extreme to many Christians. They would never think of turning against God because of a disappointment. Yet, when faced with unexplainable circumstances, when God seemed unloving and uncaring, they quit going to church. They stopped witnessing to others about Jesus and basically disengaged from any spiritual life at all. They may not have become an atheist, but they are no longer proud to call Jesus their Savior.
The Bible is filled with stories, some ending in great triumph, and others ending in seeming disappointment. In most cases, the Bible gives us the story behind the story and we can understand why many ended the way they did. Yet, in life, we are not always aware of the story behind the story. Why didn’t we get the answer we desired? We think we did everything right, yet, God seemingly let us down.
Does God Really Answer Prayers?
Of course, He does! In some cases, however, He doesn’t answer them exactly like we think He should or exactly how we thought He would. When this happens, we think that what we have trusted in for years does not work and that God, in some way, has failed us.
Many people just can't seem to move on after a tragedy. They get stuck at a point and even years after the event is over, they get up in the morning and rehearse the story throughout the day until they go to bed at night. When they meet someone and begin a conversation, they retell the same story, reliving the tragedy all over again while hoping to find some closure.
These people exited the ride of life ten or fifteen years ago and cannot move on. They do not want to assume the responsibilities of life. They think that it would be easier to close the bedroom door, stay in bed and pull the covers over their head. They want an explanation before they move on. They say, "If God would just explain to me what happened, I could begin to live my life again." But God is waiting for them to begin moving again in faith, then He will explain it to them.
Habakkuk and the Fig Trees
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! Habakkuk 3:17-18, NLT
What kind of situation are you in now? You may say, “Well, you know the economy is really bad and it has affected my business. Maybe prosperity works sometimes and sometimes it doesn’t.” Wrong! Prosperity always works! You might say, “I guess faith works sometimes and sometimes it doesn’t.” Wrong! Faith always works! You may say, “My friend died. Maybe healing works sometimes and sometimes it doesn’t.” Wrong! Healing always works!
Notice, Habakkuk didn’t throw away everything he knew because there was a famine in the land. You may wonder, Why did he have to suffer through a famine? Wasn’t he one of God’s chosen? Just notice that even though Habakkuk didn’t understand, he continued to serve God.
You may say, “I’m in a fiery furnace.” Well, the Fourth Man is in there with you. His name is Jesus and He will bring you out! Perhaps you feel that nothing seems to be working. Well, anyone who has ever served God has been right where you are. Don’t give up on God because He has promised He will come through for you. He is faithful. He is dependable. If you don’t have the answers you are seeking, remember He promised that those things that are hidden will be revealed. In other words, those things you don’t understand right now will be brought to the light one day. Then you will understand and be glad you continued to follow the One Who is faithful, the One Who can be trusted, the One Who has the answers, the One Who has given us everything we will ever need in this lifetime!