There I was, frustrated to no end! Needing the Lord to solve a problem I had no control over. After much praying, all I had in return was silence……unanswered prayers left hanging like a weight around my shoulders.
Prayerfully pleading with Him about this “issue” had brought little to no progress.
I was stuck in the quagmire of this situation, unable to gain ANY semblance of a breakthrough.
Why wasn’t He helping me?
What was taking Him so long to solve this issue?
For the life of me, I could not figure this out.
“Just fix this!” was my cry because I couldn’t see what the hold-up was.
Honestly, I was tired of waiting! Can I even say a little annoyed at the unfairness of it all?
I was not the one responsible for this “issue”. This was the fault, or at least the responsibility, of someone else. Yet because I love them, I am caught up in their circumstances.
If they would just do what they needed to do, then I would finally be relieved of my suffering!!
Or would I?
What was my greater issue?
In hindsight, I can see the faulty reasoning that was frustrating me. I was unable to recognize the greater issue that needed addressing FIRST.
This passage in Mark is the perfect example of kingdom priorities as Jesus sees it.
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:1-5
Ummmm, I don’t think that is what the paralyzed man had in mind THAT day!! He was coming to Jesus with an obvious condition he had no control over. This man was desperate for Jesus to solve his problem like no one else could!! He needed the issue of paralysis to be removed ASAP.
All he had in mind was RELIEF in the form of a solution. A miracle!
No more problem = no more suffering.
“Just heal me and we will be on our way” is what I would have been thinking.
What was Jesus trying to teach?
Why would Jesus look at a paralyzed man and think his physical condition wasn’t the primary concern?
He chose to address his spiritual condition first that day because THAT WAS the greater issue. Just like it was for me as well. He was trying to teach me a greater advantage than being problem-free.
Jesus knew that as soon as one issue is resolved, another one will pop up in its place. He teaches His disciples in John 16:33,
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
The goal isn’t to strive for a trouble-free existence, but to better handle the ongoing nature of trials. The basing of our goal on the solutions to the problems keeps us continually tied to their outcome.
Christ came to teach that our solution rested with our salvation.
Once we are saved, then “in Him” we are kept safe and secure no matter what assails against us.
How is His waiting to solve our problem so important?
In my own circumstance, Jesus was teaching me that my greater need was in how I handled the issues more than the issues themselves. I kept coming to Him to fix my problem when all along He wanted to fix me first!
If I could learn from Him how to have peace regardless of my circumstances, then I could break free from my suffering in spite of what is going on around me.
My relief would not be contingent on resolutions or rescues but on Christ Himself!
What was there to gain from waiting?
God was waiting to solve my problem for my own good! If He resolved my issue before He changed me, then I would remain the same- susceptible to the decisions of others and the inevitable trouble of this world.
David had learned this freedom for himself and summarized it well in Psalm 16:8. Trouble may come but that doesn’t have to mean our peace has to be compromised because of it.
I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Where I felt vulnerable to the trouble around me, Christ was waiting for me to learn the freedom only He can provide. Because of the ongoing nature of trials experienced this side of heaven, Christ wants our peace to be found “in Him” rather than solutions to all our problems. The kind of peace found from solutions is conditional.
His kind of peace is unconditional.
I’ve come to realize what we need the most isn’t a solution, it’s Him!
How to respond to unanswered prayers
Do you find yourself in a prolonged or recurring trial? You may be experiencing the same delay I did, due to God giving the opportunity for change to happen first in you, before your problem.
A great place to start is in prayer- asking what He wants you to learn from your trial. I learned that whatever our trial requires of us is one of the main things God is trying to grow in us.
Does God ever promise to fix ALL our problems to our liking? No.
But it is my prayer that we learn the hope that is ours as we wait upon Him, taking full advantage of the change IN us, while we wait for the change FOR us.