“Jesus knows what it feels like to bring a heartfelt, passionate prayer to God and to hear God say, in effect, ‘I’ve got something else in mind. I have another plan. And that plan is going to involve intense suffering on your part.’ Somehow it helps me to know that Jesus wrestled with God’s plan for his life – and his death – even as he submitted to it, because I, too, have wrestled with God’s plan for my life even as I have sought to submit to it. Maybe you have too.
What we need most is not to hear God say yes to our requests. What we need is to be filled with such deep confidence in the character of our Father that when he says no, we know he is doing what is right and good for us. What we need most is the faith to trust him.
Some claim that strong faith is defined by throwing our energies into begging God for a miracle that will take away our suffering and then believing without doubting that he will do it. But faith is not measured by our ability to manipulate God to get what we want; it is measured by our willingness to submit to what he wants.
It takes great faith to say to God, ‘Even if you don’t heal me or the one I love, even if you don’t change my circumstances, even if you don’t restore this relationship, even if you allow me to lose what is most precious to me, I will still love you and obey you and believe that you are good. And I believe that you, as my loving Father, will use everything in my life – even the hard and hurtful things – for my ultimate good and your eternal glory, because you love me.’ ”