I want to share with you all an excerpt from a book entitled “All The Places To Go” by John Ortberg. Please add this book to your reading list. It is full of profound truths about the Lord and the doors He places in our paths, some closed, and some wide open. He imparts Godly wisdom on how to approach these doors in view of God’s plans for our lives.
In Chapter 9, Thank God For Closed Doors, my toes were royally stomped by the passage below. I have spent more time than I care to admit with my feathers ruffled over prayers that were answered with a no, doors that were shut. One of the most impactful occurred at the age of eight when I prayed to God with all my heart that my parents would not get divorced. But they did. Divorce can have serious collateral damage. And it did. My young faith was shaken to the core because I could not understand why God would answer “no” to that. Faith and trust have been hard-fought for and much prayed for in my life.
Then came four miscarriages, a son with autism and severe seizures, and my diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. And I had so wanted to have this “normal” family. That was not God’s plan, and though life has been less than perfect I thank Him for every challenge He has placed in my path. I have grown. I treasure a close relationship with my Lord and Savior. But for every time you or I questioned God’s answer to a prayer, take the words from the above mentioned book to heart.
“Why is heaven silent on the one prayer I most want answered? I cannot point you to an explanation that has all the answers because nobody has all the answers. I can only point you to a Person. I can only tell you that at the heart of the gospel is an unanswered prayer. Jesus kneeling in the garden, prayed, “Father, if it is possible, may this cup, this suffering, this death be taken from, me. Yet not my will, but yours, be done.”
That is the most desperate prayer ever prayed from the most discerning spirit that ever lived, from the purest heart that ever beat, for the deliverance from the most unjust suffering ever known. And all it got was silence. Heaven was not moved. The cup was not taken from him. The request was denied. The door remained closed.
From that unwanted, unmerited suffering came the hope of the world that remade history. I don’t know why some prayers get yeses and some prayers get nos. I know the anguish of a no when you want a yes more than anything in the world. But I don’t know why. I only know that in the Cross God’s no to his only Son was turned into God’s yes to every human being who ever lived.”
After reading this passage, I was immediately repentant all over again for every moment of anger, disappointment and lack of trust I had experienced toward God in my painful moments that could in no way begin to compare to what both God and His son experienced during the crucifixion. The suffering of Christ on the cross and the pain of a father having to watch his son go through this…I can’t even imagine.
God hurts when we hurt, He always loves, He has a plan. Never forget these things and rest assured he knows the pain that often accompanies a “no,” but he always has a purpose in the pain. And if we allow Him to work through this pain in our lives, we come through stronger, more mature, wiser, and so much closer to Him.(James 1:1-4) What better place can we be than in the hands of the potter. “Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8) To God Be the Glory!