Both my study of the Scriptures and my experience as a pastor have fully convinced me of this truth: When heaven seems silent, God is still there, and he still cares much more than we will ever know on this side of the grave. As I’ve said before, we must remember that God always answers every one of our prayers with one of the following responses: YES, NO or WAIT.
Now I know we don’t care much for the last two responses from our God, but in looking back over your life, can you see some prayers you are thanking God today for not saying YES? I know I cannot be alone in my thanksgiving for a NO or a WAIT from God. So, for all those who are in Christ by grace through faith, we are to continue coming boldly to the throne of grace at all times and with all of our requests:
Go to the Father
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who k nocks, the door will be opened”(Matthew 7:7-8).
We all find ourselves in difficult seasons of life, from finances to family . . . wellness to work . . . relationships to retirement. When the storm winds of life begin to blow, we are to drop to our knees and go to the throne of grace. Why do this? Because not only have we been invited to do so, but we have also been commanded to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Like any good father, God wants us to come to Him with everything . . . including the many challenges of daily living.
Are you still there?
But there are those times when it seems like heaven is silent, and our hearts’ cry changes from “God, are you there?” to “God, do you still care?”
However, this is not for you. Sadly, many Christians have expanded the textbook definition of insanity — doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result — to include their time before the throne of grace. We pray a few times and do not perceive any answer . . . so we stop praying. We reason, “I prayed about that last week and this week and nothing happened, so what’s the point in praying more?”
This is a mistake of gargantuan proportions. In Luke 18, Jesus told his disciples the Parable of the Persistent Widow for the express purpose “that men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1 NKJV). God has given us clear instruction to seek him in all things . . . and to keep seeking Him. We are to ask . . . and keep on asking. We are to seek . . . and keep on seeking. We are to knock . . . and keep on knocking. And on those occasions when we do this and receive no answer, it is not “insanity” to keep doing it over and over again. It is faith—faith in the one who has promised and proved to be faithful.
All you need
So, not knowing where this finds you this November 2016 as we are rapidly approaching the Thanksgiving season, let me ask you: Is there anything keeping you from continuing to ask, seek, and knock? God is there for you and God most definitely does care for you. You have his word on it. He cares for every aspect of your life on this side of the grave and throughout all eternity. If God knows the number of hairs on your head—and he does—he knows exactly what you need right now and he is giving it to you. It may not look the way you want it to look, but you can be sure God is giving you exactly what you need. Remember, God has promised to meet all of our needs not all of our wants. The key is to keep in view the difference between the two.
“Do not be anxious about anything,” we are told in Philippians 4:6, “but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” God’s command is quite clear: do not be anxious about anything; pray about everything. And the promised reward is just as unambiguous: “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:8).
I pray this Thanksgiving season will be a constant reminder for you to continue praying “with thanksgiving” regardless of the response you receive. So keep on asking. Keep on seeking. Keep on knocking. Everyone who faithfully persists in prayer will eventually find the open door, the door God has opened in his perfect timing and according to his perfect plan for your life. May this truth encourage you this thanksgiving season and in every season of life as you continue walking with the Lord in the land of the living, always and in every way, with thanksgiving.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. Never forget that . . . Amen!
Tommy Boland is senior pastor of Cross Community Church in Deerfield Beach. He blogs regularly at tommyboland.com.