This is a tough question. We believe in a good and powerful God. If this is all true, why didn't God answer my prayer? This is a question with which I have struggled personally.
I recently read this passage about Jesus’ ministry:
A vast crowd brought to him people who were lame, blind, crippled, those who couldn’t speak, and many others. They laid them before Jesus, and he healed them all. The crowd was amazed! Those who hadn’t been able to speak were talking, the crippled were made well, the lame were walking, and the blind could see again! And they praised the God of Israel, (Matthew 15:30-31).
Jesus healed the diseases and disabilities of one person after another. He healed both people with great faith in Him and those who had just enough faith to know that He could heal them. This text shows us Jesus’ deep concern for the physical hardships of our lives. As God in the flesh, Jesus is uniquely qualified to understand our physical (and emotional, mental, and spiritual) hardships.
But, what do you do when He doesn’t heal, when He doesn’t answer your prayers?
Next to those verses in my Bible was a note I wrote to Jesus several years ago: “Why, Father, won’t you heal our son? Why does he have to struggle so much? I know you’ve blessed and rescued him from so much. I just wish he could get a break.”
Ouch! At first, I was embarrassed for having been so honest. But, the more I thought about that scary period of our lives, I realized I was wrestling with an important question.
What happens when you’re disappointed with God for not pulling through?
Thinking back to the text, if I had been one of the people presenting my sick son to Jesus, would He have healed him that day? Or would I have walked away disappointed? What would have happened to my faith as a result?
In his early years, I repeatedly brought my son to Jesus and prayed for healing. I begged, cried, pleaded. But, no healing; at least not in the way I would have liked or in the timing I preferred. I was deeply disappointed.
Only Jesus is good and wise enough to know when to answer our prayers in the way we’d like Him to answer them and when He should not. He is the only one who is just and merciful enough to know when to allow us to walk through something difficult. Only He knows when the couple whose son isn’t healed immediately will respond in faith despite the disappointment and continue to respond in faith as the days, weeks, months, and years go by. And, only He knows the good things He has planned for them that could only be realized by walking though that trial.
That’s the path God allowed my family and me to walk for a long time. Even though I’ve been disappointed many times, I don’t resent Him. I’m learning to trust Him even more.
You see, all the people Jesus healed in the text eventually died and discovered that physical healing is only temporary. The hope is that each of them experienced the type of faith in Christ that brings real healing: saving faith, inner transformation, and eternal life.
If you’re disappointed with God because He didn’t answer your prayer, it’s OK to ask Him gut-level-honest questions. It’s the very act of asking them—and then being willing to wait—that God uses to produce greater faith than you could think to ask or imagine.
I pray He’ll do the same for you.