When God Doesn’t Appear To Answer

This week a man emailed me to ask me a tough question. “I was listening to your message.My wife and I are Christians for many years. We both believe that God will and can prosper us. But we have no more money. I have no job. We have debt. My wife has diabetes. We believe in healing, but we have not seen it. We believe in prosperity, but we are broke. We believe in it, but it is not working.”

Male in water

This is how I answered him…

God's will is for us to prosper and be in good health (3 John 1:2). But in this world, his will is often thwarted by the enemy, whom we know as Satan.

There are many reasons why this is possible, and it would take a long time for us to go through all of them. And, in fact, I don't know all of them.

What I do know is Jesus said “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Notice that he did not say that because he had overcome the world we would have no trouble. He said that we WOULD have trouble… and also that he has overcome the world, and we should take heart (not be afraid).

This tells me that Jesus supplies us with the ability to be unafraid even in the face of trouble in this world.

What Are We To Do?

So, what do we do about the fact that God wants us to prosper, and we are not prospering? That he wants us to be healed, and yet we are sick?

I think we can take a clue from the subject of sin. God says we are “dead to sin” (Romans 6:11). Yet, as far as I know, every Christian still sins, at least occasionally. But it's God's will that we don't, right?

This doesn't mean that we can conclude that sin is God's will, after all. It doesn't mean that we stop trying to not sin. It simply means that we are in the process of getting closer to a standard Jesus set for us.

He showed us that there is a better way to live, and that he has the power to help us.

Frankly, I don't know why it has to be so hard at times. Why doesn't every person I pray for get well? Why doesn't every person who comes to the Lord remain faithful to him? Why do we have these troubles at all?

This is a mystery. But this much we do know: people do get healed, people do prosper, people do remain faithful to the Lord.

I have physical complaints of my own. Yet I pray for other people, and they are healed. I have a choice to make in that moment: I get to choose whether I will criticize God, and withhold my faith until he tells me “why”… or I can choose to simply confess that God is good at all times, and that there are things I don't understand.

When I choose to praise God even in hard times, then I also choose to pay attention to what he IS doing. And to pay no attention at all to what he is NOT doing.

If any of this helped, I highly recommend a book by Joseph Prince called “Destined to Reign”… and I also recommend this post, “Some Thoughts On Suffering”, by Phil Drysdale.

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at RayEdwards.com.

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  • This is a challenging issue. A good post here. I like your blend of business and faith issues. Bill Johnson may be helpful here: don’t become offended with God when it seems we are not getting the answer or breakthrough, at least when we want. It seems the foundational issue it comes back to is the nature of God. He is fundamentally good. Everything good comes from him. Be encouraged to allow the revelation of God’s nature to increasingly come through his Word and not our own personal experience. Keep praising. Keep thanking. Keep believing irrespective of circumstances.

  • John A. Johnson

    We have similar challenges in our family as well.
    But when I take inventory, I find that God answers prayer more often than not.
    Stay in prayer….Stay in faith….Take inventory and thank God for what you have….

  • Sometimes God’s ways make no sense. In these times, even if we knew the answer(s) it probably wouldn’t help the pain in the moment.

    I’ve been through a few of these in the past and – although I would not wish to do it again – they were immeasurable periods of growth in the end. And I’m not afraid of it happening in the future; He brought us thru in the past and I know if need be he’ll do it again.

    • As a friend of mine, Jim White, often says, we are always searching for the “breakthrough”… and what God often gives us is the “brought-through”.

  • colinwiebe

    Philippians 4:6

    Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

    There are many scriptures that clearly advise us to focus our minds on what is good in our lives and not what challenges we face. We are instructed to pray and petition God for what we want, not what we don’t want. I am learning to reverse my thoughts and prayers to be positive and grateful and spending time getting crystal clear on what specifically to petition God for, and why.

    Philippians 4:6
    And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.