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Question and Answer

We had a woman at work give notice, and we didn’t want her to go. So, I prayed about it. But she still quit. Who let me down? She or God? Also, I have been praying for years about a family member’s illness and still, I have not seen healing? Why aren’t my prayers answered?

The experience of unanswered prayer is one of the haunting questions of life. I suspect many Christians have felt let down by God, or, at the very least, confused and disappointed. Part of our reaction comes from incorrect teaching about the nature of prayer. We have been taught that if we pray the right way we will get the answer we desire. But prayer is not about getting what we want. Prayer is, as one writer put it, “surrender to the reality that there is a wisdom greater than ours.” Prayer brings us into relationship with God, the greatest guide and loving presence we can ever have. Prayer confronts us with our finiteness and God’s infiniteness. In your first example, it’s important to remember that each individual has a human will he or she can use for right or wrong. God will not manipulate anyone; He gives us choices. We must always realize this when we pray for others.

In your second question, you wonder why God answers some prayers and not others. The disciples prayed for Peter’s release from prison, and God released him (Acts 12:3–17). But God allowed Stephen to be stoned to death (Acts 7:54–60) and later both Paul and Peter were put to death for the sake of Jesus. In the book of Psalms, we find questions such as “Why have you forgotten me?” (Ps. 42:9) or “Why have you rejected me?” (Ps. 43:2). Questions like these are common to all of us, representing our worry and doubts.

It is natural to have questions about prayer. God understands that. The book of Psalms encourages us to express those questions honestly to God. But it also pushes us to remember God is a God of mercy who loves His children. It may not be until eternity that we will have all the answers, but I love the words of Psalm 42: 11, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

I rededicated my life to Christ recently. My boyfriend lives with me and our finances are deeply entangled. I know God is restoring me and telling me we can no longer live together. I know I have to leave my boyfriend. How do I do this in accordance with Scripture? How does this happen peacefully?

First, I am thankful that your life in Christ is being restored! Nothing is as crucial in life as our commitment to God and His Son Jesus Christ. Your obedience is a sign of Christ’s life in you, a tribute to your love for Him and for His Word (John 14:15).

However, as you are realizing, there are consequences to our choices, and obedience to the Lord does not mean that things will be easy or that others will accept those changes. God does not promise a peaceful resolution just because we do the right thing. If your boyfriend does not believe as you do, he may be understandably angry and upset. When you talk to him about what you must do, explain to him how hard this decision was for you and that you are a Christian and must obey God because you believe what the Bible says. Then assure him that you will take responsibility for your part of the finances. After this, continue to pray for him and ask others to pray for you.

While this will be painful, you can be assured that God will sustain you. As Paul writes to the members of the church of Philippi, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6).

Why do some people have so much and some so little?

We live in a fallen world with a huge imbalance of money and power. There is an enormous divide between the wealthy and those with very little. But Proverbs 22:2 says, “Rich and poor have this in common: the Lord is the Maker of them all.” Nowhere in the Bible are we promised that everyone will have an equal experience. What Christ does teach consistently in Scripture is the importance of generosity and care for the poor. “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matt. 25:40).

People may be rich or poor for many reasons, among them place of birth, family circumstances, available opportunities, and life choices. But we are promised that if we know the Lord our lives can have meaning in spite of these circumstances. We are not rejected or accepted by God according to what we possess. Christ reached out to those who came to Him regardless of their circumstances; He took everyone seriously, teaching the poor and the rich alike, performing miracles for both, calling both to obedience and repentance.

BY Dr. Rosalie de Rosset

Dr. Rosalie de Rosset has been teaching at Moody Bible Institute in the Communications Department for over four decades. She is occasionally featured on Moody Radio. Rosalie is a published author, respected speaker and talented writer. She lives on the northside of Chicago, a city she enjoys for its natural beauty and multi-faceted art offerings.

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